Protecting real estate during divorce

| Jul 15, 2021 | Divorce |

Protecting your Colorado real estate after you have been married is not always possible. The court will usually assume that property is part of the marital estate, and they will divide it accordingly. This means that your real estate may be at risk.

Protecting real estate before the marriage

If you own real estate before the marriage, you can take steps to protect it without even having to sign a prenuptial agreement. There are two primary ways. The first is to form an LLC in your name prior to the marriage. The court will presume that all property in the LLC is not part of the marital estate. You could also form a real estate asset trust. This is difficult to do during the marriage, but you would fare better if you did it before the wedding. This would take the property out of your name. Of course, you could always negotiate a prenuptial agreement with the other spouse.

Buying out your spouse’s share

During the marriage, the only way to protect real estate that you purchased with your spouse during the marriage is to buy out their share. In other words, there is little protection because they are not necessarily your assets. This would require you to lay out money to make the purchase. However, things like the family home are very clearly part of the marital estate. The court may equitably divide the real estate in a divorce proceeding based on a number of factors.

You need legal advice in a high-net-worth divorce because of the stakes involved. Trying to handle this divorce on your own could result in your leaving money on the table. The lawyer could advise you on how best to negotiate a settlement agreement that protects your legal rights.