Imagine you own a ski lodge in Vail that you've enjoyed for years. It was the first luxury real estate purchase of your life. You bought it and paid it off well before you got married. Now, after 10 years of marriage, will you be able to keep the property after your divorce, or will your spouse get to take part of it?
The answer to this question depends on a variety of circumstances that pertain to your situation. By reviewing the following example scenarios, you might be able to determine if you'll get to keep the property or not.
After marriage you maintained the property in your name
If you kept the Vail property in your name after marriage, then it will be classified as individual property in your divorce proceedings -- with one important caveat. If the property increased in value during the course of your marriage, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may be able to lay claim on those valuation increases. As such, you might need to compensate your ex for part of this increase, as the appreciation in value will likely be viewed as shared marital property in the divorce.
If you still owed money on the property after your marriage
If you owed money on a mortgage on the property after marriage, your soon-to-be ex will probably be able to lay claim on the equity that was paid into the mortgage during the course of the marriage. That is, unless you used separate property to pay the mortgage -- perhaps from a bank account that you maintained prior to your marriage. In addition, your soon-to-be ex will likely be able to claim part of the value increase on the property that occurred during the marriage.
If you inherited the property during your marriage
If you inherited the property during your marriage, the property will be classified as individual property, as long as you didn't sign it over to your wife's name. However, if joint marital assets were used to repair or upgrade the property during the marriage, this could create some liability to your ex in terms of joint ownership.
Every asset division matter is different in Colorado
Ultimately, it's vital to review every real estate asset division matter on an individual basis to determine exactly how Colorado family law will treat it during a divorce. As such, if you own a ski lodge in Vail, it's important that you don't jump to conclusions or make any assumptions about whether you'll get to keep the property outright until you fully understand all the legal factors that could be involved.