During a divorce, deciding who gets to keep the house can cause a significant amount of controversy and stress. In many divorce cases, the family home is the most valuable asset, and if you have lived in it for some time, the current market value can greatly exceed what it was originally bought for. In addition to the financial considerations of what will happen to your home following your divorce, there are also personal, and very emotional concerns that need to be addressed.
Keep reading to learn about some of the key factors that are taken into consideration when determining who gets to keep the house…
Children’s Impact On Who Gets to Keep the House
One large factor in determining who gets to keep the house is whether or not children are involved, especially if you and your spouse have children that are young or still living at home.
If your financial situation is changing, both sides will need to balance their wants and needs against the financial realities of life after the divorce is final.
School-aged children can successfully navigate the shifting landscape of their parents’ divorce, but having stability and consistency in their lives is important. If it is possible, keeping children in their same school, with friends and teachers they know, and the house they are familiar with is ideal.
However, it is not always possible for families to maintain the same lifestyle they had before divorcing. If your financial situation is changing, both sides will need to balance their wants and needs against the financial realities of life after the divorce is final.
Once you and your spouse have decided to get a divorce, it may make good sense to hire a certified financial adviser. This person can help you determine if you’ll be able to meet the expenses of keeping the family home while still having sufficient funds to cover other needs such as saving for your children’s college expenses or retirement. If one spouse determines that it is financially feasible to keep the house after the divorce, refinancing provides a way to access the equity in the home so one spouse can buyout the other.
How the Courts Will Determine Your Home’s Value
In some cases, divorcing couples agree on their property’s value and then provide that figure to the judge so the court can determine the property award. However, in those cases when spouses are not in agreement, the judge will require evidence supporting the proposed values. These forms of evidence can include receipts, a bill of sale, or other financial records. To settle disputes, the judge may also require professional real estate appraisals.
When deciding the property’s value, a judge may review the following:
- the property’s purchase date
- The length of time the property was lived in
- the property’s current value
- the property’s current condition
- the married couple’s separation date
- the date of the divorce decree or the date of the equitable distribution trial
When it comes to valuing the marital home, the court will value it as of the date of dissolution or the hearing on the division of property.
In Colorado, by statute, property must be valued as of the date of the dissolution of marriage or as of the date of the hearing on the division of property, if the hearing precedes the date of the dissolution. The only exception to that rule is that if property was dissipated (disposed of, destroyed, etc.), then the property can be valued as of the date the property last existed. Therefore, when it comes to valuing the marital home, the court will value it as of the date of dissolution or the hearing on the division of property.
Remember to Keep a Clear Mind
Getting divorced can be a stressful time, but it’s important to refrain from letting the emotional aspects of your family home cloud sound judgment when it comes to deciding the conditions of the divorce and what to do with the house. While it might be hard to leave, it’s important to consider what’s best for you and your children in the long run.
Contact Laura Monty Law
If you or your spouse will be filing for divorce in Northern Colorado or reside in the Larimer County or Fort Collins region, and want to explore divorce options that protect your children as much as possible, do not hesitate to contact Laura Monty Law. We provide collaborative divorce representation, divorce mediation services, legal advising for uncontested divorces, and a full array of traditional, court-based divorce and family law services in Northern Colorado. We strongly believe in taking a compassionate approach to family law, and recognize that every situation is unique.