Ryan Kalamaya discusses how marital property is divided in Colorado.
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Ryan Kalamaya and Amy Goscha provide tips and recommendations on issues related to divorce, separation, and co-parenting in Colorado. Ryan and Amy are the founding partners of an innovative and ambitious law firm, Kalamaya | Goscha, that pushes the boundaries to discover new frontiers in family law, personal injuries, and criminal defense in Colorado.
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Ryan Kalamaya (1s):
Welcome to divorce at altitude, a podcast on Colorado family law. I'm Ryan Kalamaya each week, along with my business partner and cohost Amy Gosha or an expert, we discuss a particular topic related divorce or co parenting in Colorado. In addition, we have created a short series of lessons that will take you through the legal process of divorce and answer your questions from simple to complex divorce. Isn't easy. The end of a marriage, especially when children are involved, brings a great deal of loss and change. We hope these practical tips and insights will help you on your journey to a new and better life.
Ryan Kalamaya (43s):
This video is about Dividing Marital Property. It's part of our series on property division and related videos that you might want to check out and be familiar with are the most recent one that I did, which is on Marital versus separate property, as well as our episode one, which tells the story about Eric and Melanie Wolfe. And it's our hypothetical divorce story that we use to explain various legal concepts. So first, before we begin any sort of discussion about marital property, we need to take a step back and ask ourselves what is Property? It should be easy enough, right? You know it, when you see it, but there are a few things that you should understand under Colorado law.
Ryan Kalamaya (1m 23s):
First is a professional license or some sort of special degree is not Property. So a law degree, an MD or a teaching license that is not Property. It can be considered when dividing property as essentially an economic circumstance, but it is not Property. Well, what about Goodwill and a business? Goodwill would be the brand recognition. Apple. You buy an iPhone because it's got that cool little logo. And you just know that apple makes great products. That's Goodwill. Is that dividable as marital property in Colorado? Yes. Social security benefits cannot be divided under the supremacy clause of the U S constitution and whether or not one receives social security benefits.
Ryan Kalamaya (2m 8s):
That is an economic circumstance, but it is not a property interest. Military retirement pay. However is, and so is a pension. So if someone is guaranteed a particular amount for the rest of their life, that can be considered as a property interest, a contingent fee owed to a lawyer, that's a property interest, personal injury lawsuit. If it occurred during the marriage, it is a property interest. What about animals? Colorado courts have not yet decided that particular issue. There are a whole host of different issues that can come up when you're dealing with a property interest. And you need to understand that there's a difference between property and income.
Ryan Kalamaya (2m 50s):
So when someone is earning money from that professional degree, and that paycheck is deposited into a bank account, it is Property at that point. But the future income that is derived from the professional license, that is not. So now that we understand what is generally speaking property and what is not, how does the court go about Dividing Marital Property? Well, if we take the Eric and Melanie Wolfe example, think of Eric and Melanie as having a basket. And that is the Eric and Melanie Property basket that's marital property. Then the court does an analysis of dividing property and it will put Property in the Melanie basket and then the Eric basket.
Ryan Kalamaya (3m 32s):
So with, if Eric gets the business and again, remember Goodwill counts as a marital property, that's going to weigh down his basket. And, but if he gets the credit card debt, it's going to lighten it up. Now what happens frequently is the judge or divorce attorneys they'll use spreadsheets. So there will be a column for Eric and a column for Melanie. Now separate property will be in a separate column and it won't be considered when Dividing Marital Property, or I should rather say it can be considered as an economic circumstance. So that might change the division of property of marital property between Eric and Melanie. But a lot of people will ask themselves or go into a divorce and say, well, that business interest, it needs to be divided equally.
Ryan Kalamaya (4m 17s):
And so we're just going to split the business and the house we're going to split the house equally. And that's just not how it works. We don't take a chainsaw and divide the house in half. And usually what happens is there'll be an offset and you can think of this as a double entry bookkeeping. So if Eric gets the business interest in that is worth a million dollars, then what you would look to is having an offsetting asset or property for Melanie. And if the house is worth a million dollars, that both parties are going to walk away, Eric is going to have the business and Melanie's going to have the house. Now, finally, to tie this all up, we're going to have individual or specific episodes regarding business interests, real estate, and some of the specific issues that come up on occasion.
Ryan Kalamaya (5m 2s):
But for now, it's helpful for you to understand how marital property division works. And again, as a reminder, the court is not required to divide property equally. It's only supposed to be equitable. Thanks for listening or watching this short lesson on the Divorce at Altitude podcast. If you found this helpful, please leave a review or share with a friend. It does help for others that are going through or thinking about a divorce in Colorado. If you want to find out more information, please visit Kalamaya Law or Divorce at Altitude dot com. And that's kalamaya.law. Remember, this is educational information. It's not intended to be legal advice.
Ryan Kalamaya (5m 42s):
Please consult with an attorney about the particulars of your case. We're happy to answer questions. Feel free to give us a call at (970) 315-2365.