The division of marital assets can be one of the most contentious issues in any divorce. You can eliminate much of the stress and conflict associated with marital property division by protecting your assets in preparation for your divorce.
The following outlines protecting your assets should a divorce be inevitable. For specific case information, contact an experienced Denver divorce attorney.
Understanding Colorado’s Laws Regarding Marital Property
The first step in safeguarding your assets is understanding Colorado’s marital property laws.
In Colorado assets classified as marital are divided equitably between the spouses in a divorce. An equitable division is meant to be as fair as possible, not necessarily an equal split.
Marital property is generally all property that exists at the time of the divorce that was acquired during the marriage. There are some exceptions for inheritances and gifts as well as some analysis of changes in value of property either party owned prior to the marriage. However, the classification does not depend on how the account or other property is titled.
What is Separate Property?
Separate property is property owned by one spouse alone that was acquired prior to the marriage or that was acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage. It is not included in the marital property division.
Separate property may include any of the following:
- Gifts to a spouse;
- Property owned by a spouse prior to marriage; and
- Property defined by a premarital or postmarital contract
Separate property may be “gifted” to a spouse or a marriage by adding a spouse as a co-owner to separate property. Separate property may also have a marital value component if it has increased in value during the marriage.
Identifying and Valuing Marital and Separate Property
The first step in determining if assets can be protected is to catalog and value those assets. Every piece of property and item of value must be listed and categorized as either marital or separate property. This only includes household goods and furniture if they are of significant present value.
Art, antiques or collectibles may be videoed or photographed in the home. Investment records should be gathered on all accounts regardless of ownership. If there are questions as to valuation, don’t undertake appraisals on your own but discuss with your lawyer what the best strategy might be.
Gather documentation to prove the source of separate property. If separate property was reinvested, a paper trail of statements or the electronic equivalent will be vital to trace the new investment back to its source.
Never try to conceal assets in a Colorado divorce. There is a five-year lookback period in which a spouse may request a division of assets that were not disclosed at the time of the divorce.
Negotiating an Agreement
Spouses who can negotiate an asset agreement outside of court are typically happier with their results. Spouses who can work together can make deals to trade similarly valued assets and get items they want.
When the court divides assets, it has very little knowledge of the parties individual preferences or goals. Both spouses may be unhappy with the court’s property division.
Contact an Experienced Denver Divorce Attorney Today
To learn more about protecting your assets in a Denver divorce, contact an experienced high asset divorce attorney at Hogan Omidi, P.C. Our skilled Denver property division attorneys can help you clarify your divorce priorities and meet your divorce goals while minimizing your stress and conflict.
Reach out to Hogan Omidi, P.C., in our Denver office today. We serve professionals, executives, and high-asset individuals in the metro area and throughout the state.