Colorado Divorce Law: The Division of Special Assets and Debts

The division of assets and debts is one of the most controversial and complicated stages in a divorce. The division gets even more complicated for certain items people consider special or valuable. Here are a few examples of such items and how their division usually unfolds.

Engagement Rings

States each handle engagement rings differently. In some states, the ring belongs to both people, while in other states, the ring is a gift that the recipient gets to keep. Colorado is one of the states that take the latter approach. Each person gets to keep the wedding bands and engagement rings they received from the other person.

The rationale is that the engagement ring is a conditional gift that one person gives the other before marriage. You satisfy the condition of the gift once the marriage actually happens. Thus, you get to keep the gift when you divorce because you have already met the condition. However, you have to return the rings if you break the engagement before marriage.

School Loans

Marital debt, just like marital assets, goes through equitable division during a divorce. Note that equitable division is not the same as equal division. For the equitable division, the court has to ensure that the division is fair. In Colorado, student loans are part of the marital debts, and the court will divide them equitably between the two of you.

Fairness means that the court has to consider:

  • Who took the debt
  • How you used the money
  • Whether the money helped the family or an individual
  • Whether you can afford to repay the debt
  • Whether and how long the education benefited the family

Note that equitable distribution of student loans only applied to loans that you or your partner incurred during the marriage. Each person is solely responsible for any loans they incurred before or after the dissolution of the marriage.

Marital Home

For many homeowners, the marital home is one of the most valuable properties they have to divide during a divorce. Since Colorado is a separate property state, each person gets to keep their separate property while the court divides the marital property equitably.

Therefore, to determine who gets the marital home, you first have to determine whether the home is marital property or separate property. Generally, marital property is any property you acquired during the marriage while the rest of the property is separate property. However, property acquired during the marriage may be separate property if:

  • The property is a gift.
  • The property is an inheritance.
  • The property is a proceed from the sale or transmutation of a separate property.
  • A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement designates the property as such.

Therefore, if you acquired the marital home during the marriage, then the home is marital property unless it falls into any of the above exceptions. For example, you get to keep the home you inherited from your grandparents even if you received the home during your marriage.

If the home is marital property, then you have to divide it like any other marital property. Here are the common ways you can divide a marital home:

  • Sell the home and divide the proceeds equitably.
  • One person keeps the home while the other gets other properties whose values equal their share of the marital home.
  • One person buys the other’s portion of the marital home.

As for the actual value of the marital home you are entitled to, the rules of equitable division of property apply.

A divorce is a complicated process. Let the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C., handle your divorce to ensure you get a fair divorce agreement or settlement. If you have decided to end your marriage, book an appointment with us today so we can begin to work on your divorce.

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