Colorado’s divorce laws categorize assets into separate and marital property. As noted by SmartAsset, a spouse’s separate property includes gifts and inheritances. It also includes assets acquired before the marriage or after a legal separation.
Individuals may protect their separate assets from division during a divorce. Marital property, however, includes almost all assets acquired during the marriage. These assets must divide fairly between each spouse.
The court may review each spouse’s contribution to acquiring or maintaining assets
A fair division under Colorado’s laws may involve reviewing the length of the marriage and how much value each spouse contributed to an asset’s acquisition. If, for example, only one spouse contributed money to purchasing a home and paying its mortgage, the court may not consider the property subject to division.
The other spouse, however, may have stayed home to maintain the shared residence. His or her contribution to the household also has a value, which the court may recognize when dividing the home. The spouse who wishes to keep the property after a divorce may need to buy the home or “trade” its fair value with the departing spouse.
Spouses may negotiate their own version of fairness
After having an asset’s value appraised, one spouse may offer to pay the other the fair share of its current market value. Trading its worth for other shared assets may also lead to a mutually agreeable arrangement.
As noted by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, other assets that may require an appraisal and fair division include stock options, pension plans and debts associated with joint accounts. Spouses may then negotiate what reflects a “fair” division between them.
Because many couples over 50 acquire valuable assets during their marriage, divorce negotiations may require several discussions on fairness. A divorce decree may include dividing financial assets so that each spouse may retire comfortably.