Finding out that your spouse was not faithful to you was hard enough, but then hearing that they wanted to take most of your marital assets was shocking. Not only did they impact your emotional state, now they want to hurt your finances, too.
Colorado is an equitable distribution state, which means that your assets may not be divided evenly. This can put a lot of pressure on you, especially if you feel threatened by your spouse’s comments that they’ll be seeking as much as possible from your marital assets.
How can you protect your property against unfair distribution?
Understand that if you and your spouse cannot agree on a way to divide your property, you will end up in court. A judge will look at all of the documentation you have and distribute assets based on the circumstances.
For example, if you have a single-family home, two cars and $25,000 in your bank account, the judge will review that asset list and note that it has to be divided. They’ll then listen to the reasoning behind your wanting whatever portion of those assets you’re seeking.
If you earn significantly less than your spouse, for example, the judge may decide that it makes more sense for you to receive your vehicle, $20,000 of your savings and a larger percentage of the sale value of your home. If you can prove that you’re facing financial difficulties because of your spouse’s adulterous behavior, you may be able to have the judge award you a larger portion of assets, too, as a way of penalizing your spouse for using your assets to support another person.
Your attorney will work with you to make sure you protect separate assets that could be perceived as marital property. Anything that you owned prior to your marriage or that you were given as a gift should remain your own and not be divisible. You shouldn’t risk your property, though, so your attorney will want to make sure you can secure it as separate property before going to court.
Your attorney will talk to you more about marital assets and the best way to fight for your fair share, even if that’s more than what your spouse would receive. Equitable distribution is not designed to be equal, and how your property is divided will come down to your preparing well for the negotiations and presentation in court.