Going through a divorce is almost always difficult. Navigating family changes often feels challenging, as your ideas of home and stability are redefined. One of the biggest concerns many people have during a divorce is that their spouse will get all the assets. Though it is normal to be concerned about your belongings and finances, this anxiety often leads couples to make demands or decisions during a divorce that they otherwise wouldn’t.
Despite this, the process of dividing marital property can be made easier by a qualified Fort Collins property division attorney. A good lawyer will ensure that everything is divided according to state and federal family law requirements, so that you can move through your divorce with confidence.
It is essential to understand what types of assets are on the table during property division. Because property refers to all your belongings and not just real estate, there is often some confusion about this.
The following will be divided between you and your spouse during a divorce:
In some situations, these divisions happen easily. For example, if both parties have vehicles of relatively equal value, the court will likely see fit for each individual to keep their own car.
In other situations, the distribution of assets is more uneven.
There are a few ways to go through property division for your Fort Collins home. In some cases, the property is put up for sale, and each spouse gets an appropriate part of the profit when it sells. In other cases, one spouse would like to keep the home as part of their asset settlement. This is allowable as long as the other spouse and their attorney agree to the arrangement. In this case, the house may be appraised. Again, one spouse will keep the home, while the other one will be entitled to assets equaling the home’s value.
It is important to note that the latter option is not always available. For example, if the home represents the bulk of the couple’s assets, there may not be a way to give other equal assets to the other spouse. In these cases, the couple’s Fort Collins attorneys will negotiate.
When a home is sold during a Fort Collins divorce, many people assume that the profits will be split equally, and each spouse will take half. Though this certainly does happen, many judges will consider contributions to the property, allowing one spouse or the other to keep slightly more. For example, if one spouse spent a significant percentage of their income renovating the home, a judge may take that into account and give that spouse slightly more profit.
This applies to other assets as well. For example, if one spouse contributed a more than equal share to shared purchases, a judge may take this into account and allot more assets to that spouse.
If you were not the primary breadwinner in your marriage, the above information likely seems bleak. However, there is no need to worry. Courts take into account lots of unpaid roles in family life and ensure that the spouses who perform those roles are compensated.
For example, if you were a stay-at-home parent while your spouse worked, the courts will assign value to your position in the home. Child rearing, cooking, cleaning, etc., are all significant undertakings. Just because you did not bring in money from outside the home does not mean that your spouse will get everything. You may be entitled to spousal support as well as your fair share of assets.
Something that often comes up during property division is the concept of marital property vs. separate property. Marital property is relatively easy to understand. It is simply assets that you and your spouse acquired during your marriage, such as real estate, bonds, stocks, etc.
Separate property is a bit more nuanced. There are a few ways to define separate property, and they are:
Be aware that separate property can become marital property. For example, if one spouse purchased a home before getting married and then put their spouse’s name on the deed after marriage, that home would be marital property.
Any interest or increased value accrued on separate property during the span of the marriage is also considered marital property. For example, if one spouse buys a stock for $5 per share before marriage, but the stock increases from $5 to $50 per share during the marriage, that $45 increase is considered marital property.
It is also worth noting that separate property can still be divided during a divorce, especially if one spouse has significantly more separate property than the other. The only way to fully protect your separate assets in a divorce is to sign a prenuptial agreement before marriage. If you fail to do so, your separate property may be divided during divorce negotiations.
When you undergo divorce proceedings and property division, there are a lot of legal minutiae at play. Therefore, it is always in your best interest to seek out a law firm and a divorce attorney that you trust. This individual will help ensure that you get what you deserve from your divorce and ensure that all applicable assets are appropriately divided.
It is also important to note that agreements such as child custody and child support are determined during divorce proceedings. Therefore, if you want your fair share of child custody and support in caring for your children, you will need an attorney.
Johnson Law Group is your foremost Fort Collins property division attorney. With decades of experience, we can help make your divorce as smooth and equitable as possible.
Do not wait; contact us to schedule a consultation.