Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

Colorado Property Division Basics

Colorado is an equitable division state. This means that when a couple divorces, they must divide their shared property and assets in a way that is fair. Sometimes, this means that assets will be split 50/50, but not always. Instead, the focus is on coming to a property division settlement that is as mutually beneficial as possible and doesn’t disadvantage one spouse over the other.

The first step in property division is determining which property and assets are marital property, i.e., property jointly owned by the couple. Typically, marital property is that which was acquired after the couple was married and before their date of separation. The couple will go through the same process for identifying and dividing marital debt.

Common examples of marital property:

  • Real estate, including the family home
  • Bank accounts
  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts and pensions
  • Family-owned businesses

Common examples of marital debt:

  • Credit cards
  • Mortgages
  • Car loans
  • Personal loans
  • Business loans

Property division is rarely easy, and figuring out an equitable split of all shared assets and debts can be incredibly difficult. Below we discuss how one of the most contested aspects of property division can be handled: dividing the family home.

Ways to Handle a Family Home During a Divorce

Whether they have children or not, many couples own a home together. Their house is frequently their largest and most valuable asset. It is also not uncommon for spouses to have a home mortgage. When they divorce, they may struggle to figure out how to best manage the division of their home.

If you are facing divorce, you may assume you must sell your home. This is only sometimes the case. Depending on your financial circumstances and your family’s needs, there are several options for dealing with the family home during a divorce.

Potential options for dividing the family home:

  • The property is sold, the mortgage is settled, and the spouses split any profit from the sale
  • One spouse keeps the home and buys the other spouse out of their share
  • One spouse keeps the home in exchange for taking on more marital debt
  • The spouses decide to retain shared ownership of the property, with plans to sell and divide the profits later

Though it is not always recommended that divorcing couples continue to own property together, there are some situations in which this is a good option. For example, if you are divorcing when the housing market is down, you may not be able to sell your house for the best price or enough to cover the mortgage. In this case, it might make more financial sense to continue to own the home together until the market recovers.

Similarly, some parents decide to retain the house for a time, arranging for one parent to live there with the children so that the children don’t suffer as much disruption all at once.

Work with an Attorney on Your Property Division Settlement

No matter what option works best for you and your family, if you have significant shared property or assets, including real estate like a family home, it is always a good idea to work with an experienced attorney during the property division process. Your attorney will not only support you during all legal filings and proceedings, but you can also benefit from their experience.

As previously mentioned, many couples assume they will have to sell their home and therefore don’t explore all of their options. An experienced attorney, like ours at the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C., can help you review all your options and determine if selling your home is indeed in your best interests.

If you are divorcing in Colorado and need guidance with a complex property division, reach out to the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C. for a free initial case consultation.

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