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What to Do With Your House in a Divorce

Our family law attorneys have over 20 years of experience representing a variety of cases related to divorce, maintenance, division of marital property, and more. One of the most common issues that comes up in a divorce is the division or disposal of the marital home. Our legal team has gathered common questions you may have about your house and what to do with it after or during a divorce. Contact our Denver family law attorneys to schedule a consultation and discuss your case in more detail. We can guide you and help you reach the best possible decision when it comes to your marital home and your divorce.

What if my ex-spouse doesn’t want to sell the house?

One of the first steps you could take if your ex refuses to sell the marital home is to file a remedial contempt motion pursuant to Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 107.

The burden of proof will fall on you to show that your ex failed to comply with the court orders regarding the sale of the home when he or she does have the ability to comply with them. When seeking a finding of contempt, you can seek remedial orders which could include additional orders to ensure the sale of the home, such as:

  • Remedial sanctions requiring him or her to vacate the home and give you full authority to deal with the sale.
  • If there is interest to be gained from the sale, you can include an order regarding statutory interest on your share.
  • You could be awarded attorney fees incurred while trying to gain compliance with the orders.
  • You can also seek a jail term that can end with order compliance.

One of the disadvantages of contempt motions is that they require multiple court hearings and can take months to resolve.

Will my ex get to keep everything if most of our assets are under his/her name?

Generally, the answer to this question is no. How marital property is titled in a divorce is irrelevant, according to Colorado law, a court has the statutory authority to divide marital property as it deems equitable. 

If I didn’t work during the marriage will I be able to keep any of our marital property?

Most divorce courts look at marriage from the perspective of each spouse contributing in his or her own way, in any type of contribution and not necessarily financial. Most courts will perceive that a homemaker has contributed to the family in a meaningful way and is certainly entitled to a normal share of the marital estate (regardless of whose name the assets were accrued in). 

Do I have to move out of the house if I was served with divorce papers?

No. The filing of a divorce is nothing more than getting the case officially started, service is only obtaining personal jurisdiction over the other party. The only case where you would be forced to move out of the house would be if there were court orders requiring you to do so.

What options do I have on what to do with a house in a divorce?

There are essentially three options you can choose when deciding what to do with your house:

  1. The wife keeps the home.
  2. The husband keeps the home.
  3. The home is sold.

You could also rent the property and divide the earnings, your divorce attorney may have other options available and can help you decide the best one based on the specifics of your case.

How can you decide who gets to keep household items in a divorce?

When dividing household items such as furniture, electronics, kitchen appliances, and other items you can consider the kids. Whichever parent has the majority of time with the children could keep the majority of the children’s items. For items not related to children, be fair about items you recognize may have nostalgic value to the other party, or items someone brought to the marriage such as heirlooms. Tools or equipment that help the other party earn an income should to them. Pictures and sentimental videos can be copied so each party keeps their separate copy.

Can alimony payments be considered as income to refinance a home?

Alimony payments will be considered as income for a refinance if they are court-ordered payments, have been received consistently for at least six months, and if they will be received for at least three years. 

Can you exchange property instead of paying monthly alimony payments in a divorce?

If there are significant assets there can be an opportunity to forego maintenance (alimony) payments in exchange for more property. 

What factors does the court consider when dividing marital property?

Among these factors are each party’s contribution to acquiring the property, including the contribution of a homemaking spouse, the value of each party’s contribution, economic circumstances of both partners when they divorce, which partner is going to have custody of the children, and any changes in property values where only one party owns the property. Some items often considered “marital property” by the court are pensions, life insurance policies, tools, businesses, houses, vehicles, and furniture.

Schedule a consultation to discuss the best option on what to do with your home after a divorce.

We should always keep in mind that each divorce case is unique and requires a legal expert to analyze it and determine the best approach. If you are dealing with a complicated divorce and are facing the tough decision of what to do with your house in a divorce, our Denver divorce lawyers can help you. Contact us to schedule a consultation to discuss your divorce with our experienced legal team.

Author Photo

Stephen Plog, co-founder of Plog & Stein, P.C. in 1999, is a dedicated family law attorney with almost two decades of expertise in Denver. Focused exclusively on family law since 2001, he excels in both intricate legal writing and courtroom litigation, having navigated cases in all Denver metropolitan area District Courts. Steve’s comprehensive background, including a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a law degree from Quinnipiac University School of Law, underscores his commitment to providing insightful and personalized representation in family law matters.