When people marry and settle in a home, they usually do not have any notions about divorcing. In Colorado, married people often begin by building or buying a home and afterwards acquire other marital properties. However, when they decide to divorce, property division can become crucial and divisive, and often neither of the spouses wants to leave the marital home. There are certain things that make it hard for a spouse to leave the house while divorcing. First, the house has sentimental value. Next, some people think abandonment of the house can make it hard to claim the property in the divorce proceedings. Finally, the spouse who leaves the house may fear that doing so will also cause them to lose custody of any children of the marriage.
Issues of marital property division can be complex. In general, under Colorado law, property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and is subject to equitable division by the court. Property which one spouse brought to the marriage is considered separate property and it retains its separate character in a divorce. These general principles apply to the marital home as well.
A claim that one spouse has abandoned the marital home can be relevant for child custody disputes. To avoid the appearance of disinterest in the children, it is a good strategy to have a court-ordered parenting plan in place before one parent leaves the marital home permanently.
Divorce can be painful but people have to go through the process to escape a marriage that did not work out. Each spouse should speak with a legal professional to go over issues that stem from divorce including not only property division but alimony, child support and custody.
Source: Forbes, “Should You Move Out Of The Marital Home? Learn From Divorce Attorneys, Not The Tabloids,” Jeff Landers, June 11, 2013