Dividing The Family Home In Divorce

Dividing The Family Home In Divorce Can Be Painful

Divorce is always painful and difficult, and one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce is dividing the family home in divorce. Emotions abound, for “protecting” the family home is often seen as a security measure. But in the end, the family home is just another asset that needs to be considered in almost any divorce.

Dividing a family home in a divorce in Colorado involves a combination of legal principles, equitable distribution guidelines, and the specifics of the divorcing couple’s situation.

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Colorado is known as an “equitable distribution” state, which means that marital property is not necessarily divided equally but rather in a way that is deemed fair by the court. This process is guided by several key legal principles and considerations, and it encompasses various steps, including the determination of marital property, the assessment of each party’s contributions, and the evaluation of economic circumstances, among others.

Determination of Marital Property

The first step in dividing the family home in divorce in Colorado is to classify the property as either marital or separate. Marital property includes most assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage, with a few exceptions such as inheritances and gifts received by one spouse.

The family home is typically considered marital property if it was purchased during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. If the home was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, it might still be considered marital property if both spouses have contributed to its mortgage payments or improvements, or if its value has increased due to efforts or funds from both spouses during the marriage.

Equitable Distribution Guidelines

Once the property has been classified, the court will divide it in an equitable manner. This does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split but rather what is considered fair, based on several factors, including:

  • Each spouse’s financial circumstances: The court will consider the economic circumstances of each spouse at the time of the division, including their earning capacities, any separate property they own, and their future financial needs.
  • Contributions to the marriage: This includes not only financial contributions towards the acquisition and maintenance of the marital home but also non-financial contributions such as homemaking and child-rearing.
  • Value of the property: The current market value of the home is considered, often requiring a professional appraisal.
  • Increases in value: If the home’s value has increased during the marriage, the court will consider what contributed to this increase when dividing the property.
  • Children’s interests: If the couple has children, the court may consider their needs, including stability and continuity in their living environment, which could influence which spouse is awarded the family home.

Options for Dividing the Family Home In Divorce

After considering these factors, the court or the divorcing parties themselves, often through negotiation or mediation, have several options for dividing the family home:

  • Sell the Home and Divide the Proceeds: This is a common solution when neither party can afford to maintain the home on their own or when both parties agree that selling is the best option.
  • One Spouse Buys Out the Other: If one spouse wishes to keep the home, they can “buy out” the other’s share. This might involve refinancing the mortgage to remove the other spouse’s name and compensate them for their share of the equity.
  • Co-Ownership: In some cases, divorcing spouses may agree to retain joint ownership of the home for a period, often until their children reach a certain age. This arrangement requires clear agreements about mortgage payments, maintenance, and eventual sale.

Dividing The Family Home In Divorce – It Can Be Complex!

The division of a family home in a divorce in Colorado is a complex process influenced by multiple factors, including the classification of property, equitable distribution principles, and the specific circumstances and needs of the divorcing couple. Each case is unique, and the outcome depends on a variety of financial, emotional, and practical considerations.

Given the complexity of property division in divorce proceedings, it is advisable for individuals going through a divorce to seek legal counsel to navigate the process effectively and protect their interests.


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