In a lot of ways, your marital relationship may end before you actually divorce. Many people reach a point of emotional separation from their spouse around the time that one spouse files for divorce. While you think of your marriage as over, it technically still legally exists until a Colorado judge finalizes your divorce.
Depending on whether you have children and the volume of cases going through the courts, it could be months or even more than a year between when you decide to file and when you are actually, finally divorced. Usually, one spouse will move out of the marital home during the initial separation or after filing for divorce.
In some cases, both spouses will try to stay in the marital home throughout the divorce, possibly because they’ve received bad divorce advice.
Where you live does not determine your ownership rights
People will often warn those thinking about divorce not to leave the marital home. These well-meaning individuals will tell those considering divorce that if they move out of the house, they will legally abandon their ownership of the property and their right to it in the divorce.
It is true that moving out early in the divorce might influence how a judge ultimately handles the home. They may be more inclined to let the spouse who stayed in the house retain possession of the property. However, both spouses will still receive their fair share of the home’s value.
Under equitable distribution rules, the goal of property division is fairness. It certainly would not be fair to deprive someone of 20 years’ worth of mortgage payments because they got an apartment when they filed for divorce. The courts will look at what you have contributed to the household and to the acquisition and maintenance of assets when dividing your property.
When you purchased the home and how you acquired the resources that help pay for it are what will ultimately determine your share of interest in the property, not just whether you were stubborn enough to stay there throughout the entire divorce.
Acknowledging reality can help you both make better decisions
Sometimes, it is fear or stubbornness that leads to people making questionable decisions during divorce, like increasing everybody’s stress levels by trying to cohabitate throughout the entire divorce process.
When you understand your rights in Colorado, it’s easier to plan for divorce. It can also be easier to negotiate with your spouse, which can be particularly important when you share significant assets. Learning more about property division in Colorado divorces can help you plan ahead for your divorce and make better logistical decisions when you do file.