As you and your spouse prepare for your Colorado divorce, one of the most important things you will need to do is decide how you will split up your marital property. You may already know that Colorado is an equitable distribution state, meaning that by law, you and your spouse need to agree upon a property settlement agreement that will divide your marital property fairly and equitably between the two of you. But what exactly does “fair and equitable” mean?

The Huffington Post reports that unlike in community property states where spouses own marital property 50/50 and must split it up that way in the event of a divorce, in Colorado you need not evenly divide your property. In fact, a fair and equitable property settlement in your situation may be totally unfair and inequitable in someone else’s situation.

Separate property

Bear in mind that your fair and equitable property division applies only to the marital property you and your spouse acquired during your marriage. It does not apply to your respective separate property that you owned before you married each other. It likewise does not apply to separate property either or both of you acquired during the marriage, such as gifts, inheritances, etc. Separate property belongs to each spouse separately and plays no part in your property settlement agreement.

Fair settlement factors

As you might expect, you and your spouse will need to consider many factors when negotiating a fair and equitable property settlement agreement, including the following:

  • How old and healthy each of you is
  • How much each of you currently earns at your respective job
  • How much each of you expects to earn in the future
  • How long ago the two of you got married
  • The standard of living the two of you have attained during your marriage
  • What types of nonfinancial contributions each of you made to the marriage and the dollar amounts thereof

While you should not interpret this information as legal advice, it can help you understand the various things that go into arriving at a fair and equitable property settlement agreement.