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Divorce filings soar at the beginning of the year

Many Colorado residents make resolutions to lose weight or stop smoking at the beginning of the year, but they may not know that January is also the most popular month for divorce filings. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, new divorce filings are often about one-third higher in January than at any other time of the year. However, those thinking about initiating divorce proceedings may be wise to address certain legal and financial matters first.

While community property states like California and Texas require marital property to be divided equally, the equitable distribution laws in Colorado only require it to be divided fairly. This means that judges in Colorado may award more or less property to spouses based on factors such as their income, their future financial needs and the length of the marriage. Spouses should also consider the tax implications of a divorce. Dividing an investment portfolio by selling stocks could lead to significant capital gains tax exposure, and divorced spouses lose the income tax benefits that come with being married.

The timing of a divorce can also have implications for those nearing retirement. Spouses who divorce after 10 or more years of marriage are eligible to receive spousal Social Security benefits based on the income of the ex-spouse provided they have not remarried. Another important step to take prior to initiating divorce proceedings is changing the beneficiaries designated on retirement accounts and insurance policies.

Ending a marriage is not a step to be taken lightly, and taking this path involves making some important and difficult decisions. An experienced family law attorney can describe to a divorcing spouse the various legal issues that are likely to arise with a view towards addressing them in a negotiated settlement agreement.

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Cooper, Tanis & Armas, P.C.
42 Garden Center
Broomfield, CO 80020