In a Colorado divorce, deciding who gets to keep the marital home can be a significant source of contention.
Both spouses may have emotional ties to the house, and it often represents a substantial asset. Understanding the factors that influence this decision is important for a fair and equitable resolution.
Colorado follows the principle of equitable distribution when dividing marital property during a divorce. Equitable distribution means a fair but not necessarily equal distribution of assets. The court will consider various factors to determine what is fair, such as each spouse’s financial contributions, the duration of the marriage and their individual needs.
Separate vs. marital property
One factor in deciding who keeps the house is whether it is separate or marital property. Generally, any property acquired during the marriage is marital property and subject to division. Property acquired before the marriage or through a gift or inheritance is typically classified as separate property.
One spouse may have the option to retain the house by buying out the other’s share of the home’s value. The court will assess the value of the house, and the spouse who wishes to keep it can offset their spouse’s share by providing other assets or money of equal value.
The court will examine both spouses’ financial situations when deciding who gets the house. Factors like income, debts and the ability to cover the home’s expenses are important. A spouse who wants to keep the home also needs to consider the long-term financial impact to avoid becoming one of the 27.4% of homeowners considered house-poor.
In many cases, negotiation and compromise can lead to a mutually satisfactory resolution that allows one spouse to retain the family home while ensuring a fair distribution of assets.