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Separate Property

When distributing assets and debts in a divorce, it's crucial that you protect your own property from your former spouse.

The lawyers at The Dadvocates can fight to ensure your separate property remains yours after the divorce is over.

Learn why men all over the state of Colorado count on our lawyers to protect their marital assets during a divorce.

What Is Separate Property? Separate vs. Marital Property

According to Colorado divorce law, separate property is property that belongs to one spouse rather than both spouses. This is different from marital property, which refers to assets and debts acquired jointly by both spouses during the course of a marriage.

Marital property typically includes the marital house, vehicles owned by the couple, and mortgage debt. Separate property is usually classified as assets and debts one spouse has before marriage.

What About
Community Property?


Even though the state of Colorado distinguishes between separate and marital property, Colorado is not a community property state. This means that any marital property acquired during the marriage is divided equitably (fairly) during a divorce rather than being divided equally (more or less 50/50) as it would be in community property states.

Below are some common examples of separate property:

Property Owned
Prior to Marriage

Any property you owned before getting married is considered separate property. If you own a vehicle prior to marriage and it remains in your name, that vehicle would be considered separate property. The same is true of homes, businesses, or other assets. However, the use of a home or vehicle for marital purposes can complicate matters.

Inheritance Given
to One Spouse

If you receive an inheritance that is specifically for you, it is your property rather than marital property. Complications arise if the inheritance is then deposited in a shared bank account in which spouses pool their earnings. The same is true of any inherited real estate that the couple lives in or has equal access to.

Gifts Given
to One Spouse

A gift that is given to a spouse is considered their personal property rather than marital property. Should that individual gift then be used for marital purposes, the gift may not be considered separate property any longer. This holds for monetary gifts, real estate, vehicles, and other assets.

What About Property Acquired
After Legal Separation?


Once there has been a decree of legal separation in the state of Colorado, any property you or your spouse acquires is considered separate property.

Are You Having a Property Division Dispute? Speak with Colorado Divorce Attorneys Dedicated to Men

It's crucial that separate assets and debts in a divorce remain separate. Your spouse may try to claim your property as their own, or may claim that marital property belongs to them.

The Dadvocates can help you keep your assets, while accurately distinguishing between separate and marital property. We can review your prenuptial agreement and any supporting evidence that will help keep the property division process fair.

For more information about your legal options in a divorce, contact our law firm online. You can also reach our team of attorneys by phone.

(720) 749-2876

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The Colorado divorce and family law attorneys at The Dadvocates can help you with disputes over separate and marital property.

Our Clients Share Their Stories Helping Men in Colorado with Their Legal Issues


John Carter


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Samera Habib is a consummate professional who takes her responsibilities personally and handles her affairs diligently and with integrity.  Her clear thinking and open-minded approach gives her a distinct advantage over most of her peers.  Always very responsive and incredibly polite, her demeanor and optimism make interacting with her delightful.  She is very well prepared for meetings, highly organized and very creative.  I recommend Samera Habib enthusiastically and without reservation.

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Greg Norris


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When a family splits, its easy to feel left in shock, confused, over-whelmed and often times completely and totally alone in the fight. Having a team like the one at SH Law behind you is invaluable. Attorney Samera Habib and her team helped me (and continues to help me) through the process of my separation and ongoing child custody matters with such care and devotion, seeing each of my cases through to the end and always with a judgment in my favor. They make me feel less alone in this. They make me feel like I have support. I would recommend SH Law to ANY Parent facing difficult separation or custody matters. They really do feel like part of OUR team at this point. My son and I. Thanks SH Law!

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Can Separate Property Become Marital Property? Understanding How Assets Get Commingled

House in the Suburb

Yes. Commingling separate property with marital assets is quite common in marriages, and it can lead to a number of family law disputes during a divorce.

Below are some examples of separate property becoming marital property:

  • You owned a home prior to marriage that became the marital house that you and your spouse lived in
  • You have a shared checking or savings account with your spouse in which you both contribute funds
  • You and your spouse use marital funds to maintain or improve your house
  • You inherited money but deposited the inheritance in a shared bank account with your spouse

Potential Disputes Over Separate Property

Battles Over the Marital Home

Disagreements over who gets the house and other real estate are among the most common property division disputes in a divorce. It's possible that the property in question is in fact separate property rather than marital property, though it depends on how the property was used and whose name it's under.

Dividing Funds in Bank Accounts

A number of family law disputes also involve the money in checking or savings accounts. Even if you have a bank account in your name, that personal account could be considered marital property if your spouse made any deposits to your account.

Classifying Different Debts

Marital property doesn't just involve assets. Marital debts are divided in a divorce as well. It's important that separate debts be classified correctly so you do not wind up saddled with expenses that your spouse should be fully responsible for.

Pensions, IRAs, 401(k), and Retirement Benefits

Retirement accounts are often a contentious part of property division disputes. Typically, the starting amount of a retirement account is treated as separate property, while an increase in the account's value during a marriage is treated as marital property.

Prenups and Property Distinctions


A prenuptial agreement may exclude certain property from being considered marital property. This legal agreement can help keep certain assets and debts separate, and be used to prevent prolonged disputes over which spouse should receive a share of said property.

Men of Colorado Can Count on Our Attorneys 5-Star Reviews from Clients of The Dadvocates


Wendy Scheib


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Samera has always helped make me feel at ease during high stress trial situations. Just knowing that she’s on my team and fighting for what is best for my children helps me sleep at night. I can’t imagine going through some of the conflict my family has experienced with someone else.

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Roman Cordova


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My experience working with Kaitlyn Wright has been nothing but phenomenal. During the case she kept me well informed and did an excellent job representing me in court. I would highly recommend the Dadvocates as a father for they know the law well and how to help dads in their hardest of times.

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The Dadvocates

The Dadvocates are the only lawyers exclusively focused on protecting the rights of fathers. Our attorneys have received awards and prestigious recognitions from Super Lawyers, Avvo, and the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys. We assist dads in a variety of legal matters, including:

You can request a consultation with our firm by filling out our online form or calling (720) 749-2876.

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