The divorce process is hard, and emotions run high from the initial conversations through the complicated decisions involving the division of property. Ending a marriage can be complicated, especially when shared property like a home is involved. At Johnson Law Group, one of the most common topics our clients are concerned about is splitting the house in a divorce. Contact our experienced and compassionate legal team today for a confidential consultation about your divorce at (720) 463-4333.
Colorado is not a community property state, meaning that in a divorce, the partner that earned the property may have the ability to keep that property. If both spouses worked and financially contributed to the house, it would be considered shared marital property and should be divided equitably. In some cases, one partner may opt to give up their share of the house in favor of other concessions from the other party, such as a greater share of marital assets or full ownership of other shared property, such as art pieces, expensive cars, or other items.
Colorado law does not have established rules about which partner would automatically get the house in a divorce. Therefore, divorcing spouses have three options for splitting the house in a divorce:
If divorcing spouses cannot agree on any of the above options, they can petition the court to ask for a decision. Colorado family law judges consider the following when determining an equitable division of property:
These may some of many considerations that a judge uses to determine final ownership of the house. The legal team at Johnson Law Group has the experience and knowledge of Colorado divorce law to provide sound advice and guide you through the complicated process of splitting the house in a divorce.
Most Colorado courts tend to favor the family home going to the partner who has primary physical custody of the children. The reason behind this is to preserve continuity and stability for the children. The house is likely in the school district they attend, or they may have friends in the neighborhood. Therefore, remaining in the house would be less disruptive to minor children than moving.
If the couple has equal physical custody of the children, allocating ownership of the house may be more challenging. The courts may look at the overall ownership of the house, like whether it was purchased before or after the marriage and how the down payment was made. If one spouse contributed the down payment and much of the mortgage payments from separate property, like an inheritance, then the courts may find in favor of that spouse.
Dividing assets in a Colorado divorce, such as the house, starts with determining if the property is separate or marital. Marital property is that which a couple acquires together in the marriage, while separate property is that each spouse owned independent of the other prior to marriage. Property can also be considered separate if one spouse acquired it through an inheritance or was gifted property during the marriage.
However, increases in the value of separate property during the marriage are considered marital property. For example, if one spouse purchased a home before getting married, then the couple lived in the home during the marriage and the house increased in value, then that increase would be considered marital property. This is especially true if both spouses contributed to paying for the house. Additionally, if the spouse who purchased the house converted it into marital property, such as adding their partner to the deed, then the home would also be considered marital property.
Once a couple's property is divided into marital and separate property, the legal valuation and division process begins. All marital property is assigned a monetary value for ease of division. The house should be professionally appraised to obtain the property's true market value. Once the house has been valued, you may have a better ability to negotiate regarding how to divide the value of the house.
Johnson Law Group is an experienced family and divorce law legal firm in Colorado, helping families successfully navigate the painful and difficult process of divorce. If you are interested in how you will divide your assets in your divorce, or how to ensure your legal rights remain protected, contact our dedicated legal team today for a free consultation about your situation.