Does a wife lose rights to a house if she separates from her husband? 5 Answers as of April 15, 2011

Marriage problems for decades, the stress has caused emotional and physical problems. Have moved out, husband understanding I want our marriage to work, yet he needs to deal with some issues. If I rent a place for 7-10 months. Would he be able to claim desertion and take our house away from me. A month after I left and without my agreeing, he put two men renters in our home, knowing I was against this. Thanks for any information, I will not live with the guys renting rooms and am thinking of getting my own apartment, but not if I am considered abandoning my husband.

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
No, you won't lose rights to your house if you separate from your husband. Separationdoesn't cause you to lose your community property rights - if it did, nobody would separate as a prelude toa divorce, and we would have unhappy spouses living together until a divorce is granted. If your marriage wasn't working out for you, it was appropriate for you to separate, for your own peace of mind. We have no-fault divorce in California, and "abandonment" isn't a ground for divorce. Ifyour husbandearns more than you earn, you may be entitled to Spousal Support, based not only on what he earns, but on the rent he gets from his renters as well. If the house was purchased in your and your husband's joint names, it would be community property (subject to reimbursement of traceable separate property funds that were used for its acquisition or improvement). Your husband is receiving not only the full use and fair market rental value of the house, but he is receiving rent for rooms in the house as well. The rent that he receives is community property, since it is rent on a community asset - so your husband would owe you half of the rents that he receives. The fact that your husband rented out rooms in the family residence might be a sign to you that he isn't willing to work on the issues that caused you to separate - unless he needed the rent to replace part payment by you on the house mortgage and ownership costs.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2011
Goldberg Jones
Goldberg Jones | Zephyr Hill
You will not lose your ownership interest in the property. However, there are other issues to consider. Before you move out, you should have an hour consultation with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/15/2011
Law Office of John C. Volz
Law Office of John C. Volz | John C. Volz
California is a no fault state. There is no abandonment. Your home is community property assuming that you purchased it during the marriage. If he is collecting rent, you will be entitled to of the rent collected while you are not residing there as well as of the reasonable rental value for your husbands continuing to reside there. After you file for divorce you may petition the courts to sell the house or you or your husband must purchase the other party out. Please contact our office for assistance with this matter.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/14/2011
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
In California, there is no such thing as desertion. This is a no-fault divorce state. You don't get punished for moving out and you don't waive your interest in community property. If you are in my area and are looking for a divorce attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/13/2011
Michael Apicella
Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
California is a "no-fault" divorce state. meaning, that claims of desertion have no relevance. California is also a community property state, meaning that if the house was purchased during marriage and the mortgage was paid by one or both parties' income, then that asset is likely community property.

Assuming the house is community property, then "no," your husband can't unilaterally remove you from title or take more than his community share when it comes time to divide any equity. Apart from such division issues, there are other rights and obligations relevant to the facts you stated: namely, if there are renters in the house, you are entitled to half the rental income. Also, one party can request exclusive use of the house until it is ultimately divided as part of the divorce. Best to call a local family law lawyer to discuss the particular facts of your case. Good luck!
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/13/2011
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