Who Owns the House?

My girlfriend lives with me for 3 years and the house is in my name and her name isn’t on any of the paperwork. I have asked her to leave and she said it is her house too. Is this a true statement.

If you are the only person named on the Deed, the house is yours, not hers.

Home Improvements

I live in Aurora, and plan on filing for divorce from my wife. I already owned our home when we got married. Since then, though, we have a new addition on the house and have put in a pool. What does she have a claim to?

If you didn't add your wife's name to the title, she would have a claim to part of the increase in value from the date of marriage to the date of divorce. If you added your wife's name to the title, it will be deemed a "gift" to the marital estate, and she will be entitled to share in the full amount of equity in the house at the time of the divorce.

Can my wife fire me as CEO?

Shortly after marrying 16 years ago, I started a tech company. It has grown, and we currently have 85 employees. I serve as CEO, and take a salary. I own about 80 percent of the company. My question is, if I divorce my wife, will she own part of the company, and if so, can she fire me as CEO?

It depends on how your company is structured. Does your wife have an equity ownership interest, or is the remaining 20% owned by a third party? If you and not your wife holds equity, then the company will remain yours. A valuation of your company will be necessary to determine its fair market value, and your proportionate share of its net worth. Your wife will be entitled to share in your interest. Depending on various factors, she might or might not be entitled to 50% of your interest. Once a dollar value is established, you could buy your wife out of her share. This can be accomplished by offsetting the value of other marital assets or a cash payment. If your wife also holds an equity interest, a determination would have to be made as to whether you both want to remain in the company, or whether one of you will buy the other out, or place your combined interests for sale to a third party.

Division of Financial Portfolio

When my wife and I married in 2009, my financial portfolio was worth about $11 million. I am planning to file for divorce, and my portfolio is now worth $23 million. How much of that can my wife reach? What about stocks that I owned before we got married that have increased in value?

The $11 million is considered your separate property. Assuming that you didn't put your wife's name on your portfolio, she is entitled to share in the increase in value from the time of your marriage until the date of your divorce. Thus, your wife has a claim on part of the $12 million increase. The amount to which she is entitled depends on several things, such as the length of your marriage and her contribution to your marriage. If you put your wife's name on your portfolio, you have "gifted" the $11 million to the marital estate. In that case, your wife has a claim on part of the entire $23 million. Same analysis regarding your stock porfolio.

Division of Assets and Home Ownership

I have not lived with my husband in 12 yrs but have not gotten a divorce. During that 12 years I bought a home which he has never lived in or paid on. Would that still be a 50-50 split of equity. Also I have a pension from the city, if my spouse remarries can he still collect on it?

In Colorado, marital property subject to division includes all property acquired up through the date of dissolution of marriage. It is irrelevant that you and your husband have been separated for 12 years. This doesn't mean that everything gets split equally, but your husband has a claim to part of the equity in your house and your pension from the city.

The Court has to look at everything including all of your assets, debts, incomes, length of marriage, retirement accounts, and economic circumstances to determine what is fair. Colorado is an "equitable division" state, which means that the Court must do what is fair, which may not necessarily be equal.

Divorce and Division of Property

Can I afford to get divorced? Am I going to lose everything?

The answer depends on numerous factors. Colorado is an equitable division state. This means that not everything is automatically divided equally. The Courts will award each of you your separate property, which is property that you had prior to marriage, property that you inherited, or property that you received as a gift. The Courts must divide all marital property equitably. Marital property includes everything that you purchased as a married couple, regardless of how it is titled or who paid for it. It also includes any appreciation in property that you owned prior to the marriage, and property that you inherited or received as a gift. This will usually take the form of real estate, or investments such as stocks, bonds, certificates of deposits, money market accounts, IRAs, pension plans, insurance, and the like.

Unless you entered into a prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement protecting your property from being considered marital and subject to division in the event of a divorce, essentially everything is up for grabs. The court will consider equitable factors including length of the marriage, relative incomes of the parties, and how each person contributed to the marriage. The longer you have been married, the closer to a 50/50 split the court will make.

Courts usually consider a marriage of at least 10 years in duration to be a longterm marriage, and the 50/50 rule is likely to apply. Although it is unlikely that a person will lose everything in a divorce, they may lose things, which are very valuable to them, and it is not uncommon to see an award where the lesser wage-earning spouse receives more in property and less in debt than the higher wage-earning spouse. It is common for courts to obligate debt to each spouse in proportion to their gross earnings. So, if the husband earns for example, 70% of the combined gross income, he most likely will end up with 70% of the debt unless some of the debt was clearly for the wife's personal use.

Should I pay for a car that was given to me?

My mother gave me a car when I was married with my wife and it was in both of our names on the title. It said E. Hurd or A. Atha-Hurd. She moved in with another man that had a car and I did not have a car so I went to the dmv and got the title in my name and got the car key and went and got it. Should I have to pay her for the car that my mother gave me? I pay her $100.00 a month for the car when it was given to me.

If there is no court order requiring you to pay her, don’t worry about it.

How to Protect Assets from Future Demands

Hello, my wife and I are separating amicably, and we are in agreement as to the division of property and assets. There are no children involved and no alimony. What do I need to protect myself from the possibility that she may come back (in the future) and demand a larger share of the property and assets?  Here’s the basic details of our property division agreement: We will get the house appraised, (I owned the house before we married, and paid approx $170K).  We will split the difference between the appraised value and $170K.  I will continue to pay for her health care (through my Kaiser HMO), and I will pay for her computer service for at least until Jan ’09.  She will take all the property she owned previous to the marriage, plus all the gifts I have given her.  I will do likewise.  She will keep all her IRAs and investment assets, as will I.   She will take the couch, any of the TVs, the fridge, washer & dryer, dining room chairs, bedroom furniture.  She will remain the beneficiary of my IBM pension. Please advise. Regards, JP.

You and your wife are both required to provide complete financial disclosures to each other. Assuming you have done that, and are not withholding any information, a property settlement is permanent and final. However, if either party fails to disclose financial information to the other, and it is discovered within 5 years of the date of the divorce, the divorce case can be re-opened and the property reallocated.

Can Wages be Garnished for Divorce Asset Arrangements?

My ex-husband and I divorced 4 years ago.  6 years ago we purchased a time-share.  In the divorce decree, it states we will share the responsibility of the loan and yearly maintenance fees.  In the past 5 months, he has not paid for his portion of the loan or the past two years of maintenance.  He has stated he refuses to give me any money. Can I get his wages garnished for these amounts?

You will need to get a judgment against your x-husband for the amounts that you are owed. Once you get a judgment, you can garnish his wages.

Pension and Child Support during Divorce

I am just about to go through a divorce. We were together for 5 years married for 2 years 4 months ….I had the better paying job …I am asking him to sign off my pension …If he will not what percent will he be entitled too….Also I have a child that has no father ,,, he was the only father she knew …I have never received support for her. Can I receive support from him?

I have no idea how much of your pension your soon to be ex-husband would be entitled to. It depends on your entire marital estate which gets divided. If your husband never legally adopted your daughter, he has no legal obligation to pay child support.

How 401K is Valued During Divorce

I recently was divorced and they valued my 401K in actual value. I grew it in pretax dollars in the first case. I have to pay tax and penalty upon early withdrawal. Which takes it down 40% or more. I tried to withdra it so I could make a down payment on a house but found the value so low, it was ridiculous. Why did they not value the IRA at the lower amount if she git the house at the equity amount? In other words… If the value of th house is $300,000 in equity and my 401k value before penalty is $400,000 why do I have to equalize at $50,000 even though the IRA (cash value)is only actually only worth about $220,000. Shouldn’t the courts take the value after the penalty? or split it all equally so she has to pay half the penalty IF she withdrew it to pay for the house.

NO, the courts do not take into consideration the amount of the penalty because it is not a certainty that you will cash it out early. Courts assume that the money will be drawn out at retirement without tax or penalty.

Unmarried Division of Assets

If we are not common law married, how do we split everything up?

If you are not common law married, but have joint assets and debts, you would need to file a Partition Action in the District Court and ask that the Court to divide everything.

Property Division

What property am I entitled to?

Colorado is an equitable division state. This means that not everything is automatically divided equally. The Courts will award each of you your separate property, which is the property that you had prior to the marriage, property that you inherited, or property that you received as a gift. The Court must divide all marital property equitably. Marital property includes everything that you purchased as a married couple, regardless of how it is titled or who paid for it.

Mortgage and Equity in Divorce

If I paid the mortgage payment, is she still entitled to 50% of the equity in the marital property?

Your spouse will be entitled to a share of the equity, which may or may not be 50%. The Court has to consider the length of the marriage, whether or not she worked or stayed at home raising children, and how the remaining assets and debts are apportioned.

Court’s Evaluation of Finances

What does the court value the salary of a homemaker? For example if I make $100K a year what do they value her salary at for the distribution? Is it like if they value it at $40K (just for example) then 4/14 (40K/140K combined) is what her portion would be of any equity, etc.? Thanx!

The court does not place a dollar value on a homemaker’s salary. I’m not sure what you are asking but if you are inquiring about a property division, the court takes into consideration several factors such as length of the marriage, ability to support oneself once the marriage is dissolved, contribution to the assets by both spouses, etc.

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