Do I get to keep my home in a divorce if I owned everything before we were married? 30 Answers as of July 08, 2013

If I own everything including my house before we were married, do I get to keep my home?

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Possibly, if you can afford to buy out any community interest in your home that your wife may have. If you or your wife used marital income (your income and your wife's income during the marriage prior to separation is community property) to pay down the mortgage or improve the house, or if you refinanced the house during the marriage, your wife would have some community interest in your home.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 10/18/2011
Ashman Law Office
Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
Usually. Discuss possible exceptions with your lawyer.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 10/4/2011
Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Riana Durrett
In general, property owned prior to the marraige remains separate property and still belongs to the person that owned it before the marriage. However, it is possible for that property to become partially community property, if for example, the party who doesn't own it paid the mortgage for a considerable amount of time.
Answer Applies to: Nevada
Replied: 10/28/2011
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
If your house and other assets were paid for before the marriage, then yes, you get to keep them and your spouse would most likely have no interest in them. If they were not paid for, then maybe, although your spouse probably would have some interest. You need to consult with an attorney in order to best determine your potential rights and options.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/28/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
It depends. How long have you been married? What other assets were accumulated during the marriage? What is the value of the home (if there exists a mortgage is the mortgage payoff more than the fair market value of the home).
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/28/2011
    The Merna Law Group, PC
    The Merna Law Group, PC | John G. Merna
    The fact that you owned everything including your house before the marriage gives you a strong claim for 100 percent interest. However, it is not that cut and dried. Contact a family law attorney in your area to explain more details about your case to understand if they will effect your claim.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It would seem that there are strong arguments for a court to award the home to you. However, any equity that accrued during the marriage based on active appreciation or retiring the mortgage, would be deemed marital and capable of division. In other words, just because you had purchased the ome prior to the marriage, does not mean it does not have some marital value that accrued during the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz
    Law Office of Joseph A. Katz | Joseph A. Katz
    Most likely. There are some circumstances (substantial increase in equity) that could create a fractional quasi-community property (sometimes comes to about 17%), or community property, interest in your real estate for the other party, but the original investment is yours, as is most of the increase in equity, if any. This is so, because the increase in equity would probably be due mainly to the characteristic of the property, intrinsic to its nature as real property, subject to market forces, and not due to your labor (specific actions or work on your part) which, without a prenuptial agreement, would be considered community property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    We recommend you see a divorce attorney as soon as possible to discuss your rights and options, including a right to an equitable property division, and discuss whether or not any significant improvements have been made to the property (with your spouse's help) with your attorney, too. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Probably. However, it is impossible to make a firm prediction without knowing a great deal more about your case and the property in it. The statute says that the court is to make a fair and equitable division of all of the property. There are a number of factors that the court is supposed to consider in reaching that division. If the court is going to divide the property, it first has to classify it. All of the property is going to be classified as your separate property, her separate property, or community property. Which of these classifications a particular piece of property falls into will depend on how and when the property was obtained. In most cases, property obtained during the marriage will be community property. Once the property is classified, how it gets divided will depend on a number of factors. Some of the factors that the court may consider are: the duration of the marriage, the ages of the parties, the health of the parties, the educational background of the parties, the employment history of the parties, and each party's future prospects. The court then has to come up with what the court believes is a fair and equitable division of all of the property using these and other factors. Now, if there is enough community property so that the court can come up with a fair division using just the community property, the court will generally do that. However, if there is not enough community property for the court to reach what it believes is a fair division, then, it can invade separate property.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    Usually, so long as you did not make a gift by deed the property to yourself and your spouse.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Robinson & Geraldo
    Robinson & Geraldo | Manuel Geraldo
    That depends if the home was fully paid before the marriage and that you did not refinance during the marriage and used marital funds to pay off the mortgage.
    Answer Applies to: District of Columbia
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C.
    Law Offices of Paul A. Eads, A.P.C. | Paul A. Eads
    It depends. Was your house paid for in full prior to marriage?
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/24/2013
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    If the property was paid for in full prior to marriage, then yes. However, if some payments were made during the time of the marriage the marriage might be entitled to reimbursement for the payments you made.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Generally, yes; if it is still titled solely in your name. However, the value of any appreciation since you marriage may considered marital property to which you spouse has a claim to be satisfied by other means.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    PALMER | GEORGE, PLLC
    PALMER | GEORGE, PLLC | Brandie J. Rouse
    Normally, all property owned prior to marriage is considered separate property. But the separate property characterization of an item may have changed based on actions of the parties, such as "gifting". Also, if your home was the "marital home" it is possible your spouse is entitled to a portion of its value. That portion is dependent upon several variables and an ability to trace certain contributions to things such as home improvements.
    Answer Applies to: Idaho
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
    Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
    The general rule is that parties split Community Property and keep their own separate property. So the question is whether or not your home is separate property. Again, there are rules. All property acquired during the marriage is Community Property UNLESS the proponent can show it is Separate Property. Separate Property is property you owned prior to marriage, and property you acquired during marriage if it was acquired by gift, devise (inheritance) or derived through property owned prior to the marriage (this is called tracing). Based solely upon your question, the home is your separate property since you owned it prior to marriage. There may be some claims for reimbursement but that is another issue altogether.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Not possible to properly answer your question based on the very limited info provided. If the principle balance of the mortgage was reduced during marriage with community funds, or improvement were made with community funds during marriage, then the "community" may have acquired an interest in the house, assuming there is no premarital agreement stating otherwise. Call a local family law lawyer so you can discuss all the relevant facts and do a proper analysis.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Donaldson Stewart, PC
    Donaldson Stewart, PC | Monica H. Donaldson Stewart
    Generally, anything owned prior to marriage is separate property (not subject to division in a divorce), but there are exceptions and situations that do not fit the general rule, so I recommend you speak with an attorney to determine your rights.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    David M. Siegel & Associates
    David M. Siegel & Associates | David M. Siegel
    You may claim your home as non-marital property. However, your spouse may have a claim if contributions and improvements were made during the pendency of the marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot
    Correia-Champa & Mailhot | Susan Correia Champa
    It depends upon how long you were married.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 7/8/2013
    Lopez Law Firm
    Lopez Law Firm | Jaime O. Lopez
    As long as you can prove that you owned the property before marriage, you can keep that property. It will be up to you to establish the proof that this property was yours prior to marriage.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    If the home appreciated in value during the marriage, the appreciation in value would be divided equally on divorce. If you added your spouse's name to the deed, or if your spouse made significant contributions to the home either financially or otherwise, the entire equity could be divided equally on divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    Each party's contribution to the assets is certainly an important factor, so are other factors, such as the length of the marriage. Many times there is an equitable carved out of the net value of an asset at the time of the marriage but then any appreciation in value occurring during the marriage is equitably divided.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/28/2011
    Hugo Florido ESQ.
    Hugo Florido ESQ. | Hugo Florido
    Generally under Florida Law assets such as a home that were acquired prior to the marriage as not considered marital. So the simple answer is yes.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/28/2011
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