Divorce in Colorado requires the division of property and maintenance, more commonly known as alimony must be addressed. The majority of divorces in Colorado settle without having to leave it up to the judge to decide, and when agreements can be reached they will be reduced to writing within a Separation Agreement.
Colorado law, 14-10-112(1), C.R.S. provides:
- To promote the amicable settlement of disputes between the parties to a marriage attendant upon their separation or the dissolution of their marriage, the parties may enter into a written separation agreement containing provisions for the maintenance of either of them, and the disposition of any property owned by either of them.
Our Fort Collins divorce attorneys regularly resolve divorce cases with full agreements of the parties by drafting the Separation Agreement for the parties to sign that will become an order of the court once accepted.
Maintenance, more commonly known as alimony in Colorado, must be addressed in every divorce in Colorado. Maintenance will either be waived or there will be an award of maintenance from one party to the other. An award of maintenance will be defined in the Separation Agreement as either contractual / non-modifiable or modifiable.
Division of Property
The division of property in Colorado is to be equitable. Property division divides assets as well as debts. Some of the most common types of property to divide include:
- Personal Property
- Real Estate
- Business Interests
- Bank Accounts
- Tax Refunds
- Intellectual Property
It is common when one party wishes to keep the marital residence following the dissolution and the mortgage needs to be refinanced to remove the other party’s name. The Courts will allow a reasonable amount of time for someone to refinance the home before it is sold. The Separation Agreement should detail the terms of when the home is to be refinanced or sold in the event the home can not be refinanced.
The Separation Agreement allows for many opportunities to protect your wealth and your future. If maintenance is awarded then the balance due can be secured by life insurance as well as disability insurance. If the home is to be sold after the conclusion of your case then consider requiring insurance on the home to cover anything that could diminish the value while it is being sold. Maintenance provisions can be drafted to ensure a minimum or maximum amount and duration of maintenance.
Agreements are Binding on the Court
The agreements reached by the parties and written into the Separation Agreement shall be honored by the Court, unless the Court finds the agreements to be unconscionable as to property division and maintenance. The Separation Agreement should not detail matters associated with child custody as these items should be addressed in the Parenting Plan.
The Separation Agreement become an order of the court once approved and is enforceable just as any other court order. When a party fails to meet their obligations pursuant to the Separation Agreement the options of enforcement should be carefully chosen. While contempt is the most common remedy when someone violates a court order, it may not be the best option for all cases. The courts have the ability to transfer property when a party refuses to do so. Additionally, Colorado law provides ways to reduce nonpayment of maintenance to a judgement to be collected on.
Modifying the Terms
Under limited circumstances the terms of the Separation Agreement may be modified by the Court. The time frame to modify a Separation Agreement is limited and you should contact an attorney immediately if you believe the Separation Agreement may need to be modified.