A divorce is a devastating event for most people. Even if the relationship has been unfulfilling for a long time, the decision to divorce often brings up feelings of anger, betrayal, shame, failure, and fear for the future. Amid all those heavy emotions, people might not make the best decisions regarding parenting, finances, and splitting assets.
A skilled and sympathetic family lawyer might be your most valuable asset if you are going through a divorce. A seasoned Loveland divorce lawyer can see you through the process and help you come to a fair final resolution that puts you in a position to move forward with confidence.
Even a Friendly Divorce Can Be Complicated
Colorado does not require that one party be at fault to grant a divorce and it does not require that both spouses consent to a divorce. Anyone can file for a divorce as long as they meet the residency requirements and can assert that their marriage is irretrievably broken.
Couples who are still able to communicate sometimes try to handle their divorces by themselves. Although this is possible if there are no children to consider and few or no assets to divide, in most cases everyone benefits if a divorce lawyer handles the legal aspects of the process.
When a couple has children, a court must approve a parenting plan and child support provisions before granting a final decree of divorce. Many parents can develop a parenting plan on their own, but a mediator is often helpful. When parents cannot agree, a judge will determine the parenting time and child support arrangements that serve the children’s best interests.
Dividing assets is often a point of contention between divorcing spouses. Colorado follows the equitable distribution model, which means that courts attempt to divide marital property roughly equally. It also means that property a couple uses or acquires during a marriage is marital property, even if one spouse is the only one who uses it or only one spouse’s income paid for it.
Division Must Be Fair, Not Equal
Equitable distribution of marital assets could mean simply assigning half the value to each spouse, but the process is often more complicated. Colorado Revised Statute §14-10-113 requires courts to look at all releveant circumstances to arrive at a just settlement. Courts might consider:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including services as primary caregiver and homemaker
- Value of property each spouse brought into the marriage and will retain after the divorce
- A spouse’s economic circumstances at the point the marriage ends
- Consideration of the value of keeping the family home for the spouse with primary physical custody of minor children
Can Appreciation and Depreciation Affect Marital Property Valuation?
Almost anything of value is marital property, and it usually does not matter if the couple considered that it belonged to one spouse or the other. If one party brought an asset into the marriage and its value changed during the marriage, any increase in value could be considered a marital asset. Similarly, any decrease in value could lower the aggregate value of marital property.
For example, a spouse might enter a marriage with an art collection which increased in value by $100,000 during the marriage. Upon divorce, that spouse could keep the art collection, but the other spouse might be entitled to half of its increased value, or $50,000.
Divorce lawyers could help a spouse determine the value of their marital property and ensure that they neither overlook assets nor include items that are legitimately the property of only one spouse. Professional advice could also be invaluable when negotiating whether one spouse will receive support, and for how long.
Schedule a Consultation With a Loveland Divorce Attorney Today
Although divorce is always hard, having an experienced advocate by your side can make a big difference. If you are considering a divorce or the marriage dissolution process is already underway, a consultation with a Loveland divorce lawyer is well worth your time. Call today to get started on your case.