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How can I protect my separate property in a divorce?

While you may hope that your marriage will last forever, it is a smart idea to put protective measures in place if you have separate property. A previous post discusses what the difference is between separate property and marital property, and how it affects the division of property at the end of a marriage in Colorado. However, you must often show the court that the property is separate, in order to keep it. This can be accomplished by tracking it.

Forbes states that keeping records that are accurate is a good way to do this. If you have a savings account prior to your marriage, then you will want to have the statements for that account from the time your marriage began. This will show what the balance was at the time of the marriage, and prove that it was not accumulated during the marriage itself. Furthermore, these statements can show any increase of value through interest or deposits and make it easier to separate this amount for division.

For real estate, vehicles and other tangible assets, you should retain any records associated with them.  These can include the following:

  •          Property deeds
  •          Ownership papers for stocks
  •          Brokerage statements
  •          Bill of sale
  •          Copies of wills or trusts granting you the property

These records should be kept separate from your other records so that nothing happens to them. It is also a good idea to have assets evaluated from time to time to make sure that the value of the property has not increased. If it has, you will probably have to divide the increase with your spouse.

Keeping your separate property from mixing with marital property is also a good way to protect it. Funds from an inheritance should be placed into a separate account that has only your name on it. This will prevent your spouse from claiming it in a divorce settlement. Money from separate property that is used for marital expenses should be carefully documented and replaced as soon as possible to avoid any comingling from occurring. Retaining sole ownership of separate property is also another way you can protect it. This information is not legal advice, but merely presented for informational purposes.

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