W.M.W. (Husband) and K.C.W. (Wife) filed for divorce. They could not agree on how their marital property should be divided and how much spousal maintenance (support) should be paid. After a permanent orders hearing, the Colorado district court judge assigned to decide the disputed issues in their case entered orders that Husband believed were

A.C. (Wife) and N.C. (Husband) signed a prenuptial agreement–also referred to as a martial agreement–before they were married in 2010. The agreement identified their separate property–the property that each had acquired before their marriage–which included some land Husband owned that was referred to as the Shoshone property. According to the prenuptial agreement, the Shoshone property would remain as Husband’s separate property in the event he and Wife later divorced.

About a month after they were married, Husband and Wife decided to buy some real estate together. Husband pledged his Shoshone property as collateral for a home equity line of credit, which they used as a down payment and to remodel the property they wanted to buy, which was referred to as the Pinyon property.

Some time later, Husband and Wife decided to end their marriage, and a dissolution of marriage (divorce) case was filed in a Colorado district court. Because they could not agree on how their marital property should be divided, Husband and Wife had to appear before a judge at a permanent orders hearing so the judge could make the decision.

After hearing the parties’ evidence, the district court judge ruled that Husband’s Shoshone property became marital property when Husband pledged it as collateral to secure a marital loan.

Husband appealed the district court judge’s decision to the Colorado Court of Appeals.

Continue Reading Pledging Separate Property as Collateral to Purchase a Marital Asset Does Not Convert the Separate Property Into Marital Property

On November 30, 2003, same-sex partners T.P. and D.L. held a ceremony before family and friends where they exchanged vows and rings. Approximately 15 years later, T.P. and D.L. ended their relationship.

T.P. filed a divorce petition in the Jefferson County District Court in Colorado asserting that he and D.L. had entered into a common law marriage on November 30, 2003, the date of their ceremony. But D.L. argued in the dissolution case that it was impossible for him and T.P. to have entered into a common law marriage because same sex marriages were not recognized or protected under Colorado law at the time of their ceremony. D.L. further claimed that he and T.P. did not mutually agree to enter into a common law marriage as required under Colorado’s common law marriage test existing at the time of their divorce case.

T.P. and D.L. participated in an evidentiary hearing in the district court where they each testified and also called several family members and friends to testify about their relationship.
Continue Reading The Case of the Same-Sex Common Law Marriage that Was Recognized Under Colorado Law

D.Z. (Wife) and J.Z. (Husband) married in 2001. At the time of their marriage, Wife and Husband each had separate retirement accounts. They also each received separate inheritances during their marriage.

Wife filed for divorce in 2016, and the district court entered orders dissolving Wife and Husband’s marriage in 2018.

When it came time to identify the parties’ property as either separate or marital and equitably divide and distribute the marital property, Wife claimed that her and Husband’s separate retirement accounts and inheritances–including the increase in value of those assets during their marriage–were their separate property not subject to equitable division and distribution in their divorce because of an oral agreement she and Husband had made.

In support of her claim, Wife relied on a 2007 amendment to a revocable living trust Wife and Husband had created as part of their estate plan, which “explicitly removed the retirement accounts from the trust” as a result of their oral agreement. Furthermore, according to Wife, her and Husband’s separate inheritances were not mentioned in the amendment because the inheritances were never included in the trust.
Continue Reading The Case of the Unenforceable Oral Marital Agreement

J.A.B. (Husband) married Q.H. (Wife) in September 2015 in Colorado. Husband and Wife separated in November 2016, and Husband filed for divorce in Colorado’s Jefferson County District Court in December 2016.

While Husband and Wife were able to resolve most of the disputes in their divorce case through mediation, they could not agree on how to divide and distribute their marital property.

The main dispute centered around an interspousal transfer deed (ITD) Husband signed in connection with Wife’s purchase of a house in California during their marriage. While Wife paid approximately $1 million for the house, the ITD Husband signed conveyed any interest Husband had in the California house to Wife as her separate property.

To further complicate their dispute, the source of part of the money Wife used to buy the California house could be traced back to 11 transfers of money Husband made to Wife in the amount of $296,500 during their marriage. Wife used most of this transferred money to buy the California house.
Continue Reading The Case of the Interspousal Transfer Deed that Failed as a Written Marital Agreement