The family home is usually their most valuable asset. When a couple divorces, there are three possibilities: The wife buys the husband’s interest; the husband buys the wife’s or they liquidate and split the proceeds. Be advised: One spouse may own a property free and clear of the other, but that may not prevent a buyout or liquidation for reasons having nothing to do with that property. Also, “any property” includes vacation homes, rental or investment homes, all real property owned by either spouse.


Remain Rational – Ask Questions, Agree on Answers

  1. Who wants the house? Can either of you afford it in your new financial situation? Is it just your family home or one spouse’s ancestral home?
  2. What is it worth? The Colorado housing market is big, and America’s housing market is mind-boggling in size. What happens elsewhere can affect Colorado prices, like when the bubble burst in 2008.
  3. Do you “need” to keep it? Sometimes, one spouse will stay in the house for a time — such as, until the children finish at a school they love. If the custodial spouse can’t buy out, liquidation may wait for years.

There may be a dozen or more reasons to sell now or wait, and each family’s situation is unique. An appraisal is a good investment, you’ll know the value of the property, which will influence your decision. Talking to a realtor — or two, second opinions are not just for doctors — is free. Realtors will be the neutral third party helping you determine fair price and, eventually, handling the marketing. Weigh all pros and cons carefully.


The Law

Colorado divorce law requires dividing property equitably. “Equitably”, in this usage, doesn’t mean “equally”. Judges consider many factors in defining “fairly”:

  • Children, custody, schooling, etc.
  • Current value (that is, increases or decreases in) of one spouse’s separate property during marriage.
  • Depletion of spousal property for marital purposes (did the husband mortgage his property to renovate the family home, for example).
  • Economic circumstances of each spouse.
  • Value of the family home set apart to each spouse.

If a couple can agree on an equitable division before going to court, the divorce moves that much quicker. Attorneys or a mediator can smooth that process significantly. Couples who don’t resolve issues outside of court will resolve them in court — which is to say, the judge will resolve them.


For more information on avoiding mistakes in divorce contact our divorce law attorneys at Walker, Wright & Associates, LLP in Steamboat Springs, Colorado at (303) 730-0067.

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