Colorado has a two-step process to divide property in Dissolution of Marriage cases. Before an analysis of how to divide property can be done in Colorado, the first step is to make a determination of exactly “What is property?” Dale E. Johnson, P.C. has extensive experience in assessing property issues from simple to complicated asset structures. The word “property” can cover a variety of items, some of which are not easily seen as property by those outside this field of law. Examples of these items are:
• Stock Options
• Trust Beneficiary (depends on circumstances)
• Frequent Flyer Miles
• Business Interests (including fractional interest in various business entities)
• Memberships (i.e. country clubs or other residual value memberships)
• Vacation Club Points
• Education Accounts
• Oil and Gas Rights
• Livestock, crops in the ground
• Monies owed to spouses
• Pending lawsuits
• Health Savings Accounts
• Tax Refunds (i.e. received, deferred)
• Accrued Paid Leave
• Mineral & Water Rights
• Timeshare Interests
• Pension Plans
• Intellectual Property Rights (such as patents, trademarks)
Colorado follows the majority rule that professional degrees earned during the marriage are not property interests that can be divided as part of a decree of dissolution of marriage.
Colorado also has rules regarding appreciation and tracing of separate assets that are complicated.
Colorado is a no-fault state where equitable division of the marital estate must not be based upon fault except for proof of dissipation of marital assets.
It is essential that when going through the divorce process, that these property interests be analyzed early in the case in order to protect ownership interest(s), and also to make sure that when your case is finalized, you have reached a resolution that includes all potential issues. Reaching a resolution that is incomplete can cause unnecessary and expensive conflict.
Dale E. Johnson, P.C. has handled numerous cases with unusual aspects of property where the law is not clear, including successful appeals in cases which are now law in Colorado. The firm has years of experience and a reputation for being able to assess and focus on those issues which are truly important in a divorce situation. The attorneys and staff take pride in being able to use that focus to concentrate on moving the case towards resolution rather than being distracted by the complexity of these various property interests. To do that requires organizational skills and a good working relationship with the client and professional advisers.