Who Has to Leave the House in a Divorce in Colorado?

Who Has to Leave the House in a Divorce in ColoradoColorado divorce law doesn’t have predetermined guidelines regarding which spouse would automatically get the marital house and who has to leave. In the absence of specific regulations, divorcing couples have various ways to decide who gets the property or how to divide it.

How is a House Divided in a Colorado Divorce?

In a Colorado divorce, there are four ways to divide the couple’s marital house:

    1. Sell the property and fairly split the proceeds. This option is suitable if both individuals desire ownership but can’t agree on who should keep the house, or if neither wishes to stay in the marital home.
    2. Buy out. One spouse purchases the other’s share, allowing the buying spouse to retain the home while acquiring the other spouse’s equity and mortgage debt.
    3. Maintain joint ownership. For instance, in a relatively amicable divorce, both parties might agree to jointly own the house, possibly keeping it as an investment property by renting it out.
    4. Court decides. If the divorcing couple cannot agree on what to do with their marital home, the court will have to make the decision. We discuss more on this in the next section.

If children are involved, courts might permit the caregiving parent to remain in the home, as it’s deemed in the children’s best interest. This, however, isn’t guaranteed, and determining house ownership is frequently a matter for the court to settle.

Resolving Disputes over Property Division in Divorce

In instances where divorcing spouses cannot reach a consensus on the house division options mentioned earlier, they can seek court intervention. Colorado family law judges take into account various factors when deciding on a fair property division, including:

  • The financial circumstances of each spouse
  • The primary custodial parent of any children seeking to stay in the family home
  • Changes in separate property values for each spouse during the marriage
  • If one spouse used separate property for marital purposes
  • The value of other allocated properties for each spouse.

When a property dispute reaches the court, it can quickly become adversarial. Protect your rights and interests by getting in touch with a skilled and knowledgeable Colorado family law attorney. A competent lawyer should provide sound guidance and representation through the intricate process of dividing the house in a divorce.

What Happens to the House in a Divorce in Colorado? 

What may happen to the house in a divorce involves two stages: (1) temporary occupancy between filing and final orders, and (2) the house’s future after the court has given the final orders.

If school-aged children are involved, there might be strong grounds to advocate for the children and their primary caregiver to stay in the house, at least temporarily. For the sake of the children, courts typically aim to maintain the current living situation during the case. Thus, the judge may decide to keep the children and their primary caregiver in the house while final orders are pending.

There’s no legal mandate that temporary possession ensures permanent ownership of the house. In practice, however, it could be advantageous for someone seeking the house in the divorce to also gain temporary possession of it.

Who Determines Who Keeps the House in a Divorce?

If both parties can’t reach an agreement, the court takes charge. In a contested divorce, the court is tasked with fairly dividing assets and debts. This involves considering each person’s desire to keep the house, the preference of the primary caregiver for the children, whether there are ample assets for a buyout, and if selling the house is necessary to ensure fairness to both individuals.

How Does a Colorado Court Determine Who Gets the House?

In Colorado divorce proceedings, the process of dividing assets, including the house, begins by establishing whether the property is categorized as separate or marital. Marital property includes assets acquired during the marriage whereas separate property refers to possessions each spouse owned individually before marriage.

If the house falls under separate property as per Colorado Revised Statutes, the court will not include it in dividing the marital estate – it remains the sole property of the owner. An individual might hold separate property rights to the home if they owned it before the marriage, maintained separate ownership with only their name on the title, and covered the mortgage independently without the other spouse’s contribution.

Another circumstance where an individual might hold separate property rights to their home is if they inherited or received it as a gift and didn’t jointly own the property with their spouse.

Spouses often ask, “What if I used my separate money to contribute to downpayments, mortgage payments, or home improvements? Will I have interest in the house?” This depends on specific case details. However, Colorado courts have ruled that when a spouse places their own assets into joint tenancy during marriage, it implies an intention to gift it to the marriage.

Establishing a Marital Home’s Value and Distributing the Property

After distinguishing between marital and separate property, the legal assessment and division will commence. Each marital asset is given a monetary value to facilitate fair allocation. A professional appraisal is essential for determining the actual market value of the house. Once the property’s value is assessed, it provides a clearer basis for negotiating how to distribute its value.

Dividing the House in a Divorce Involving Children

In many Colorado court cases, there’s a tendency to grant the family home to the parent with primary physical custody of the children. This is to maintain consistency and stability for the kids. The house often aligns with their school district or friendships in the neighborhood, making staying there less disruptive for minor children compared to relocating.

Get in Touch with a Colorado Family Law Attorney

Goldman Law, LLC is here to help you navigate the challenging and emotionally taxing divorce process. Whether you’re seeking guidance on asset division or safeguarding your legal rights, reach out to our committed legal team today at (303) 656-9529 for an initial evaluation of your case.