Is Property Division in Divorce a 50-50 Split in Colorado?

In Colorado, marital property is divided on an equitable, rather than an even basis.

In high asset, complex divorce proceedings, division of marital property and assets is often one of the most hotly contested issues. In addition to uncovering the various real estate and financial accounts the couple has accumulated during their marriage, there is the issue of how to divide the property in a manner that is reasonable and fair to both. As opposed to community property states in which all assets are divided 50/50, the Colorado courts look at a variety of factors in determining a split that is equitable each party under the circumstances in the case.

Marital Property in Colorado

Section 14-10-113 of the Colorado Revised Statutes dictate the procedures for dividing property during divorce proceedings. This applies only to marital property, which includes anything acquired during the marriage, as opposed to premarital property each party possessed previously as a single person. Marital property includes any of the following:

For couples in high assets cases, Forbes advises that it is also important to include trademarks, copyrights, product branding, websites, and other types of intellectual property. Being thorough in making this list of any items owned, earned, accumulated, or otherwise acquired during the marriage is key to getting your fair share in property division.

Factors in Equitable Property Division

There are numerous factors Colorado judges are likely to consider in determining a marital property division settlement that is fair and equitable to both of the spouses involved. These include:

Reach Out to Us Today for Assistance

Having a comprehensive list of marital property and assets along with a complete picture as to each spouse’s contributions to the marriage is imperative to getting your fair share is property distribution proceedings. At Nicholas Family Law, you can trust us to work diligently on your case, helping to ensure the most successful results possible in your situation. Call or contact our Denver divorce attorney online to request a consultation today.

Alimony Affected by New Tax Law?

By eliminating deductions, the new tax law is likely to significantly impact spousal support amounts in Colorado divorce cases.

The breakup of a marriage and the adjustment to living separate and apart from your spouse can have a significant impact on your financial affairs. In complex divorce cases where one spouse has significantly more income or assets than the other, spousal support or alimony is likely to play a major role in these proceedings. Previously, generous tax deductions for the paying spouse often resulted in higher alimony award payments. Under the recently enacted tax laws, these deductions are eliminated. This could have a significant impact on divorce negotiations, resulting in overall smaller divorce settlements.

Determining Alimony In Colorado

Under Section 14-10-114 of the Colorado Revised Statutes, alimony is often a factor in high asset, complex divorce cases. Depending on the situation, spousal support payments may be negotiated through your attorneys or ordered by the judge, on either a temporary or permanent basis. Factors the court is likely to consider when determining the amount of alimony and whether it is warranted include:

The Colorado Courts provide a basic support and maintenance calculator, which can be used in determining these amounts. In high asset cases, which are typically more complex, awards may be negotiated which are greater than the guidelines suggest.

How the New Tax Laws Impact Spousal Support Payments

Previously in complex divorce cases, attorney negotiations regarding alimony payments would consider the tax benefits obtained by the paying spouse. The ability to deduct the amount paid in alimony to their ex was often considered an advantage in high assets cases. By providing tax benefits to the paying spouse, it encouraged more generous awards for the one receiving support.

Unfortunately, the recent changes to the tax code have eliminated this deduction, which could have a significant impact moving forward. According to Market Watch, while the new changes are not set to apply until the 2019 tax year, we can expect divorce and spousal support negotiations to become more contentious in the meantime as a result. Without a deduction to motivate former spouses to be generous in alimony offers, clients and their attorneys are likely to spend more time in court, fighting over these issues.

Reach Out to Nicholas Family Law

If you are separated or considering filing for divorce, it is important to understand how new laws and tax regulations could impact your situation. Call or contact Nicholas Family Law online today and request a consultation with our Denver divorce attorney to discuss your case.

What Are the Alimony Laws in Colorado?

In Colorado, alimony or spousal support may be awarded to either party based on the needs of the requesting spouse and the other’s ability to pay. In previous years, there were few legal guidelines for the court to follow in determining an alimony award, and decisions on whether it was justified were left largely to the judge’s discretion. Since that time, changes to the alimony laws in Colorado now provide a clear framework to help protect the interests of both parties involved. At Nicholas Family Law, our Denver divorce attorney represents high asset clients. In these situations, it is important to be aware of how changes in alimony laws might impact your divorce case.

Changes in Alimony Laws in Colorado

In 2013, the Denver Post reported on changes in Colorado alimony laws hailed as ground breaking and set to go into effect the following year. The changes stemmed from a national movement towards alimony reform. Around the country, state legislatures sought to either limit or standardize alimony awards by establishing legal guidelines rather than relying on the judge’s discretion, which often varied from case to case.

To prevent award outcomes from differing dramatically depending on where and before whom the case was heard, Colorado followed the trend. New maintenance formulas were created as advisory guidelines, impacting the amount and the duration of alimony payments in marriages lasting a period of between three and 20 years. While these changes apply mainly to cases in which combined annual income is $240,000 or less, these same guidelines are also likely to influence a judge’s decision in alimony proceedings involving higher incomes and greater amounts of marital property and assets.

Guidelines for Alimony in Denver

Under Section 14-10-114 of the Colorado Dissolution of Marriage Act, the court may order payments of spousal maintenance and support in cases of divorce, legal separation, or when the marriage itself has been declared invalid. The award is intended to be for a period of time and in an amount that is reasonable and fair to both parties. Factors the judge will consider in making this decision include the following:

While marital misconduct is not a factor in Colorado divorce or alimony proceedings, it could influence the amount a spouse is entitled to if their partner depleted resources in support of an affair or an alcohol, gambling, or drug habit. Any career or educational sacrifices either of the spouses made in support of the other or of the marriage would also likely be a consideration.

Reach Out to Our Denver Divorce Attorney

To discuss whether alimony may be an issue in your specific situation, reach out and contact our Denver divorce attorney. We can arrange a confidential, one on one consultation, to advise you on your rights and the best course of action in your case.

How Will a Divorce Affect my Inheritance?

In your divorce, your marital estate will be subject to equitable distribution. Marital assets are divided according to a set of factors that help the court determine the most appropriate way to split them among two members of a divorcing couple, such as each asset’s tax burden and each partner’s income and future employment prospects.

Only marital assets are subject to division in a divorce. Typically, assets obtained through inheritance, such as real estate, savings accounts, investments, and various assets held in trusts, are separate property and thus, not subject to distribution in a divorce. But when these assets are moved to accounts that benefit both parties or change in value because of a spouse’s efforts, they can become subject to division.

Separate, Marital, and Commingled Assets

There are three types of asset that come up in discussions about property division in a divorce:

Gifts and inheritance are typically the only separate assets an individual can obtain during his or her marriage, but even these can become marital assets if they are commingled. In a case like this, a divorce means dividing your inheritance with your former spouse.

How Careful Planning can Change How Divorce Affects your Inheritance

Although married couples typically do not plan to get divorced, inheritance recipients can include divorce contingencies in their estate planning to ensure that most or all of their inheritance remains with them in the event of a divorce.

One way to do this is to keep your inheritance separate from all other assets. This means keeping in its own, separate account, rather than commingling it. An additional layer of protection can be a stipulation in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that states that the inherited assets are to remain separate.

Work with an Experienced Denver Divorce Attorney

It is smart to ask questions about your financial future before you file for divorce. The right parties to ask are your financial advisor, your accountant, and your divorce attorney. To get the conversation started with a member of Nicholas Family Law, contact our office to schedule your initial consultation with us.

How Can you Tell if a Spouse is Hiding Assets?

When a couple divorces, their marital assets must be divided between them equitably. This is only possible if both partners are honest about their assets. Otherwise, it is possible for one partner to exit the marriage with an unfairly large share of their marital assets, especially if one partner handled all of the couple’s finances during the marriage.

If you think your spouse could be hiding assets in an effort to keep them from you and the court, discuss your concern with your lawyer. Our team of experienced Denver divorce attorneys can help you determine if your spouse is hiding assets and if so, take the necessary steps to take control of those assets and ensure that they are divided appropriately. Below are a few signs that an individual is hiding assets.

Your Spouse Refuses to Share Financial Information with you

When one spouse is more financially savvy than the other and controls the couple’s finances, this spouse is in a position to hide assets from the other. If your spouse is not willing to answer your questions when you ask about your shared finances, if he or she seems secretive or defensive about your financial accounts, or if your spouse’s answers to your questions seem inconsistent or dishonest, he or she could be hiding assets.

Your Spouse Recently made Large Cash Purchases or Transfers

One way an individual can hide assets is to make large cash purchases, like buying hobby equipment or a new vehicle in cash. Money cannot be traced as easily when it is converted to cash.

Another asset-hiding tactic is to transfer money to secret accounts or into accounts held by other parties, such as your child. If your spouse suddenly owes debts to friends or relatives or has to suddenly pay new employees or contractors, this too can be a sign that your spouse is hiding assets.

You Find Documentation of Accounts you Do Not Recognize

As mentioned above, a new bank account can be used to hide assets. If you find statements and other documentation related to an account you do not recognize, understand that this could be an account used to keep marital assets from you.

Your Spouse Opens a PO Box

Some individuals take their asset-hiding attempts further by opening PO boxes and sending all documentation related to their secret accounts to them. If your spouse opens a PO box, you have the right to question why he or she did so and investigate the box’s use. Your lawyer and a forensic accountant can help you track down any hidden assets from your marriage.

Work with an Experienced Denver Divorce Attorney

In any divorce, the couple’s marital assets have to be divided equitably. To learn more about the equitable distribution of marital assets and other aspects of a divorce, contact our team of Denver divorce attorneys at Nicholas Family Law today to schedule your initial consultation with us.