For many couples in Colorado, the family home is their largest asset. Because of this, questions about how this asset will be divided during a divorce is one of their biggest concerns. This is especially true when only one spouse is listed on the mortgage and/or the title. As such, many going through a divorce in which their name is excluded from the mortgage of the family home or excluded from the title want an attorney to help them understand exactly to what they are entitled.
Before dividing property, the Court must determine what property is “marital” and what is “separate.” If a home is purchased during the marriage with marital funds, the home is “marital” and subject to division; and the name on the mortgage or title are not determinative.
If a home is purchased and owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, then that home may be separate property up to the date of marriage. After the marriage, the circumstances will likely affect if the increase in value after the date of marriage is marital or remains separate. If the owner spouse adds the new spouse to the title that will likely show the intent to “gift” the home to both parties as marital property. Or, if the home is refinanced during the marriage and money is taken out or the new spouse is added to the mortgage (and therefore likely the title), then it will likely be marital property. Also, if separate property funds are contributed toward the home, those separate funds likely became marital and the entire home value subject to division.
Many people in an unhappy situation may stay in that situation out of fear that they will lose any interest they have in the home. However, that is not typically the case. Additionally, in some cases, the home value and equity can be offset with other marital property so that a spouse can keep the home.
For some in Colorado, seeking a divorce is the best choice for their individual circumstances even though it may have some financial implications. Having a knowledgeable family law attorney guiding and advising them throughout the process can help those in an unhappy situation fully understand their options and seek a fair settlement. Seeking to end a marriage is often the only way to a happier, more fulfilling life for many couples.