AFFLUENT WOMEN DIVORCE FAQ
The dissolution of marriage is never an easy process. There are many things that you must take care of before you and your spouse are legally separated. One of the most daunting is the division of assets between each party. This can be tricky, especially when you’re an affluent woman. You want to make sure that you receive your fair share of assets and protect everything you’ve worked so hard for.
We can help with that. At Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C., we have 65 years of experience in divorce proceedings. We know what it takes to protect you and your rights. Here are some frequently asked questions about divorce for affluent women.
Denver Alimony Laws
What does the law say about spousal support?
Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, is a court-ordered obligation. It claims that in the event of a divorce, one party must provide financial maintenance to the other. It is awarded from one spouse to the other under the impression that one cannot live comfortably without that support.
Spousal support has two determining factors. One observes the ability of a spouse to afford these provisions. The other is the partner’s inability to afford a comfortable living outside of the marriage. The court must prove the availability of assets on one side and the lack of assets on the other.
In most states, you must’ve had at least 10 years of marriage to receive alimony. In Colorado, you need only 3 years of marriage behind you for eligibility.
In your divorce proceedings, the judge will determine whether you or your spouse requires support from the other. If they decide that the spouse does need support, they will also determine how long it will need to be provided.
How is spousal support determined?
There are several factors that go into determining the need for spousal support. These factors include:
- Gross income of each individual
- Physical health
- Current employment status/employability
- The distribution of marital property
- Financial resources of each individual
- Contributions to the marriage from each individual
- Financial need and lifestyle established by marriage
If the court determines that alimony is in fact necessary, they will determine the amount. This uses a specific formula. In Colorado, the formula is based on the following:
40% of the higher income earner’s monthly adjusted gross income
– 50% of the lower income earner’s monthly adjusted gross income
Amount in alimony
For example, if you are the breadwinner of the household making $11k a month, 40% of that amount would be $4.4k. Let’s say your spouse’s monthly income was $6k per month. 50% of that would equal $3k. The difference comes out at $1.4k. That is your monthly alimony amount.
When that number gets added to the income of the recipient, it cannot exceed 40% of the couple’s combined monthly income.
This formula doesn’t take into account that every court and scenario is different. What it really comes down to is the attorney’s ability to represent their client.
How are assets divided?
While some states follow community property laws, most follow equitable distribution laws. Colorado is an equitable distribution state. This means that the division of assets and property is not necessarily equal, but it’s fair. It is up to the court to determine what should go to each spouse. The exception to this is inheritance and gifts given to one specific party. This is separate property and is not subject to division.
The way that assets are divided in an equitable distribution state like Colorado is once again determined by the court. There is what’s called separate property and marital property. Anything considered marital property is available for distribution. It may seem simple enough, but sometimes the lines between the two are very blurry.
Is property division taxable?
No. Property division is not taxable unless the transfer gets handled incorrectly. In that case, a taxable situation could arise.
If you must sell a shared asset as a result of the divorce and the money from the sale is split between spouses, you may need to pay taxes. But in general, property division isn’t taxable.
Different Types of Alimony
Another thing to consider is the fact that there are different types of alimony. The state of Colorado recognizes 4 different types of maintenance. They are:
- Support that lasts throughout the divorce process until the divorce finalizes.
- Most common type of spousal support.
- Lasts until lower-earning spouse gains the skills necessary for a job and becomes self-sufficient.
- Cases where one spouse paid for the other’s advancement in school or the workforce.
- Recipient of funds will reimburse the provider over a period of time and payments.
- Generally reserved for the most extreme circumstances.
- One spouse is unable to become self-sufficient. This may be a result of old age, illness, or disability.
The type of alimony is ultimately determined on the facts of the case. Because each case is unique, the number in alimony will always be different.
Separate Property vs Marital Property
It isn’t always easy to determine separate property and marital property at first glance. Even if you obtained the property before marriage, it might not be yours following a divorce. If the property increased in value during your marriage, it may have taken on aspects of marital property. This is where the court decides what gets distributed to each party.
You may think that because you purchased something in your name, it is separate property. This is not always the case. If you bought the property within the marriage (even if it’s in your name) it’s up for division as marital property.
The same goes for retirement accounts. You might assume that everything in your account is yours to keep in the event of a divorce. Again, this is not always the case. If the retirement account increased in value over the duration of the marriage, it may be up for division.
Fortunately, not everything is up for division. Social security is one of the few exceptions. These are not able to be divided. However, if the spouse is 62 years or older and the marriage lasted for 10+ years, the other party may still receive benefits on the account. However, this does not equate division or separation of assets.
Contact Litvak Litvak Mehrtens & Carlson, P.C.
If you’re an affluent woman experiencing a divorce, you need a skilled team of attorneys on your side. Here at Litvak Litvak Mehrtens and Carlton, P.C., we will protect your assets and fight for your rights. Contact us to discuss your case today. Schedule a consultation by completing our online form or give us a call.