The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Denver’s award-winning family law trial advocates. We’re experts in property division including the division of business interests.
If you or your spouse own an interest in a business in Colorado or are getting divorced in Colorado, call us now to discuss your legal options and rights. (303) 502-9600.
Following are notes on issues related to specific types of property division in Colorado.
A common issue in property division is the valuation of one party’s interest in a business, which is treated just like any other asset in a divorce. This is a particular specialty of the Denver Divorce Lawyers. Please refer also to our webpage on Business Valuations. Unresolved disputes as to value much generally be referred to an expert. I sometimes recommend that the parties consider selecting a joint expert first, especially if the cost of valuation the business will be high. If either party is dissatisfied with the joint expert’s valuation, he or she is free to hire a separate expert. However, in cases where the parties estimates of the business’ value a far apart to begin with, it is sometimes quicker and easier for each party to hire his or her own expert.
If you are the heir to a living person or have an interest in donative third party instruments that are revocable and amendable, your interest is generally not considered marital property. This is the case with life insurance, third-party wills, revocable trusts and retirement benefit instruments. While not legally considered “marital property,” the Court will usually consider these interests as economic circumstances in the division of marital property.
Whether a financial account is marital property depends upon several factors, such as when the account was opened and whether the proceeds can be traced back to separate property. The law obligates both parties to make mandatory financial disclosure of all relevant financial accounts. Information about such accounts may also be obtained through discovery, which may or may not include a deposition of the account holder.
If this information is not forthcoming a Denver family attorney can request that the opposing party signs a release of financial information so as the information can be obtained directly from the source. In extreme cases, a contempt motion may be appropriate subjecting the withholding party to criminal, financial, and legal sanctions.
If contractual rights are established during a marriage they may be considered martial property subject to equitable division in divorce. However, a court cannot divide and allocate rights for future services and commitments.
Judgments and Collections
Judgments and collections are also subject to classification as marital property if earned or collected during the marriage. Rights to future judgements and collections may be too speculative to be considered marital property, but may be considered as an economic circumstance relevant for other purposes.
Military Retirement Benefits
Some military retirement benefits can be divided. The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA) states military retirement benefits may be distributed as marital property but this element is limited to disposable retired pay only. The portion of retirement pay based on a service member’s disability must be excluded as marital property under federal law. However, courts often consider a military servicemember’s disability pay as an economic circumstance when allocating maintenance.
Rights to future social security payments are not marital property, but may be considered in relation to a maintenance award.
Frequent Flyer Benefits
Frequent flyer benefits acquired during the marriage are marital assets subject to division in a divorce.
Proceeds from Personal Injury Settlements and Verdicts
Proceeds of a personal injury settlement or verdict received by a spouse are marital property subject to division in divorce. This is true even for that portion of the award for personal pain and suffering or loss of consortium.
Gifts Made Between Spouses
Generally, property acquired by gift is classified as separate property in divorce proceedings. The exception to the rule is gifts between spouses. When one spouse transfers the title of the property from his or her name to joint names, the law presumes the gift was been made to the marital estate. This presumption can be rebutted with proper evidence.
Household Goods and Furniture
Most household goods and personal items can be divided through an agreement between the parties. If necessary, an expert can be hired to put a value on unique or high-value items.
Income from Separate Property
Income produced during the marriage from assets that are classified as separate property, is presumed to be marital property by the courts. A valid pre- or post-nuptial agreement can override this term.
The Rocky Mountain Family Lawyers are Colorado PROPERTY DIVISION experts.
Call us today to talk personally with a lawyer about property division as it affects your Denver business interest.