Denver divorce law differs from divorce laws in many other cities, and for couples who are considering this step in their lives, it might be quite confusing when considering how to divide up real estate. Let’s cover the basics of real estate division from a divorce in Colorado so that you’re informed about what to expect.
What is Equitable Division?
During divorce proceedings, Colorado uses a property division method called “equitable division.” This type of division is meant to divide property in a way that’s deemed equitable for both parties involved. Unlike community property division, which is used in some other states, property divided this way does not have to be distributed 50/50 in order to be fair.
When determining equitable division and distribution of property, judges consider several factors, including:
- How other property is distributed during the marriage and allocated during the divorce (valuable jewelry, retirement accounts, etc.)
- Each spouse’s respective financial situation
- Which party should receive primary custody of children based on children’s best interest (especially relevant in determining possession of the marital home)
- Increases or decreases in value of shared properties that took place during the marriage
Dividing Property: Separate vs. Marital
According to Colorado divorce law, there are two main property types included in real estate division: marital property and separate property.
Marital property covers real estate that both parties have gained throughout the marriage. Separate property refers to real estate that each party owned before the marriage, or real estate gained through inheritance. When prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are involved, these property types can be divided according to the terms listed, but generally, marital property is divided during a divorce, while separate property isn’t. Meaning: the house you owned prior to getting married should still be yours after getting divorced.
During a divorce, real estate can be divided between the divorcing pair if they are able to agree upon what’s fair and equitable for their unique circumstances. They can then detail the agreement in the divorce proceedings, but there are other ways to negotiate real estate division without litigation.
If the parties are struggling to reach an agreement, a mediator or arbiter can get involved and help the parties come to a favorable outcome including the option of one spouse refinancing the property in their name to be able to buy out the other spouse’s claim to a portion of the equity in the real estate. If those options fail, litigation is often necessary in order to reach a conclusion.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Divorce lawyers in Colorado are not always necessary when the terms of a divorce are easy to agree to. However, in many cases, divorcing parties trust an attorney for advice and representation throughout the difficult process ahead. In addition, divorce attorneys will know of good appraisers, real estate brokers, and other experts to use in Court, should testimony about valuation of real estate be necessary.
If you and your spouse are planning to file for divorce and you’re unsure about how to divide the real estate you’ve accrued during your marriage, we encourage you to reach out to us at COLaw. One of our experienced divorce attorneys will meet with you for a free 30-minute consultation and provide you with expert advice to help you through a challenging process.