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Colorado Marital Property

Colorado is a marital property state.  That means that the "marital estate" will be divided equitably.  C.R.S. 14-10-113.  While in a community property state, the community property is divided equally, Colorado's division of marital property need not be exactly equal - just fair.  In most cases, that will result in an equal division of the marital estate, but under C.R.S. 14-10-113(1) the Court will consider a variety of factors when determining a fair division, including:

  • Each spouse's contribution to the acquisition of the property, including contributions as a homemaker.
  • Value of property set aside to each spouse.
  • Economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of the division, including the desirability of awarding the family home to the spouse caring for the parties' children, and
  • Increases or decreases in the value of separate property during the marriage, or depletion of separate property for marital purposes.

In every Colorado divorce, legal separation or annulment case, the family law court will divide marital property and allocate responsibility for payment of debts incurred during the marriage.

Marital Property in General

Property acquired during marriage is generally marital property, regardless of how it is titled (with limited exceptions, as noted below).

Marital property includes any equity in a marital residence, stocks/mutual funds, retirement plans (including military retirement), bank accounts, the increase in value of one spouse's separate property, and tangible property such as vehicles and household goods. A Colorado divorce court will divide the marital property equitably (almost always means equally), based upon the value on the day of dissolution unless the parties agree otherwise.

Separate Property in General

Separate property is a surprisingly complicated concept.  While one can point to a car, sofa, or painting, and say that one spouse owned it before marriage, so it is separate property, that's not the end of the analysis.  Generally, property which either spouse brought into the marriage is the separate property of that spouse, however, consider numerous circumstances you'll need to discuss with your lawyer.