Is my wife entitled to the home if we get divorced? 26 Answers as of June 24, 2011

I'm married and bought a house. When buying the house my wife didn't want anything to do with it, so the realtors had her sign a form stating she didn't want anything to do with the house. I am getting ready to hire an attorney but want to now before I rock the boat. Would I have to sell the house and give her anything from that house?

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Michael Anthony Wing, P.C.
Michael Anthony Wing, P.C. | Michael Anthony Wing
Was the house the marital home place? If so, it was part of the marital estate. However, the court will consider all facts in deciding how to divide the marital estate. The documents that she signed will weigh heavily in your favor. Stay well.
Answer Applies to: Alabama
Replied: 6/24/2011
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
Merely because your wife signed a Quitclaim Deed doesn't mean that she won't be entitled to anything from the house. Your income during the marriage, and her income during the marriage, were both community property. Your wife will have some sort of interest in the house, whether a community property interest or a reimbursement interest. You should consult with an experienced Family Law Attorney regarding the specific facts in your situation, and you should retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you in the divorce. The divorce will rock the boat, in any event, and your wife will likely want everything that she is entitled to under the law.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/21/2011
Beresford Booth PLLC
Beresford Booth PLLC | S. Scott Burkhalter
The Court will look at both separate and community property when dividing the property fairly and equitably.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 6/20/2011
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
Unless those "realtors" had her waive her Equitable Distribution rights, then she will be entitled to half the house if she paid half of the down payment or it came out of marital savings and the payments came out of marital income. Consult with that attorney and ask the same questions. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 6/17/2011
Meriwether & Tharp LLC
Meriwether & Tharp LLC | Patrick Meriwether
In Georgia, anything purchased during the marriage, regardless of whose name it is titled in, is subject to equitable distribution. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal, however.
Answer Applies to: Georgia
Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    If you purchased the home during the marriage, it will likely be deemed community property. You may be required to compensate her for her share of the equity in the home. In order to become better informed about your rights to the home, you should consult with a family law attorney. You would need to establish that your wife intended to sign the deed as a gift to you rather than for other financial purposes. A court would make a determination as to the characterization of the property based on all the evidence and facts in your case.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    The Reed Law Firm, P.L.L.C.
    The Reed Law Firm, P.L.L.C. | Vanessa Reed
    If the home has equity she may be entitled to a portion of the marital equity. An attorney would have to review the document you referred to in your e-mail in order to render a legal opinion on the impact of that document upon your wife's interest in the martial equity in the home.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    The house is part of the marital estate and subject to the court's jurisdiction.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Cynthia J.Vermeulen
    Under Minnesota law, any property obtained or purchased during the marriage is marital property, subject to equal division. There are obviously exceptions to this, including if you have an agreement otherwise. There are a lot of facts which are unknown about your situation, including when you purchased the home, the source of funds for the down payment, the increase in value since the date of purchase, etc. A number of factors would be part of the determination of whether there is marital equity in the home. If the mortgage exceeds the value, there will be no equity to divide. It is highly recommended that you seek legal counsel by contacting an experienced family lawyer about pursuing divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    The general answer to your question is that "yes, it is possible" because the house is marital property and all marital property will be divided fairly. As to any specific item of property, the answer depends in part on what else there is to be divided. If you and your wife can't agree on an overall fair result, a judge will do it for you. If there is nothing else to use in balancing out the division of property and there is any equity value in the house, the judge may have no choice but to order it sold and the proceeds divided.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    The general rule is that any asset bought during the marriage is a community asset. I know she signed the house to you but that does not mean she will not have an interest on the house. Depending on the value, you might owe her money from the house.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    Whatever attorney you hire can go into this in greater detail. However, since the house was purchased during the marriage, the court is likely to consider it an item of community property. Typically, what the court does in a divorce is to look at all of the property and debts and try to reach a division of it all in a way that is "fair and equitable" in your particular circumstances. It could mean that you get the house. It could mean that your wife gets the house. It could mean that the value of the house has to be divided between you in some fashion. Without a full understanding of the nature and extent of your debts and property, as well as certain other factors, it is simply impossible to predict the outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Seattle Divorce Services
    Seattle Divorce Services | Michael V. Fancher
    Under Washington law, if the house was purchased during the marriage it will still likely be treated as community property. If so, it would be included in the property that the court divides. However, you may well be able to buy out her interest in the house. On the other hand, I would take the papers she signed to an attorney to see how they might change the outcome.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Pontrello Law
    Pontrello Law | William Pontrello
    No, Florida is an equitable distribution state.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/16/2011
    Vermeulen Law office P.A.
    Vermeulen Law office P.A. | Jacob T. Erickson
    Any property that is acquired during the marriage is marital property, which can be divided between you and your spouse. The Court can award her an equitable share of the value of the home if you get divorced.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law
    Gregory T. Buckley, Attorney at Law | Gregory T. Buckley
    Generally, any property acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and subject to equitable distribution. Depending on the language of the waiver she signed, you may be able to get around that. At the same time, though, a judge may not believe that this is equitable if marital funds were used to buy the house or make payments.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Goolsby Law Office
    Goolsby Law Office | Richard Goolsby
    Generally, in Georgia, assets purchased during a marriage are deemed marital assets, subject to equitable division. However, every case is different, so you should consult with a divorce attorney as soon as possible. Good luck!
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler
    Law Office of Robert L. Fiedler | Robert L Fiedler
    This issue is much more complicated than the simple answer you are looking for. A lot more information would be required to state any type of opinion. For example, how long have you had the home? Is it your residence or rental property? etc. You should speak to an attorney in your area before starting the divorce process.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    The English Law Firm
    The English Law Firm | Robert English
    This can be tricky. The form would be possibly persuasive as to the intent of the parties, however if you used community funds (such as your income) to pay the down payment, mortgage, taxes, insurance, and/or maintenance of the property, then she certainly has an interest in the house.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of James Lentz
    Law Office of James Lentz | James Lentz
    Your wife probably signed a waiver of dower. But it is likely that she has a right to the house as an asset of the marital estate. Please see local attorney for further information about whether you have a 100% claim to the house.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    She will be entitled to a fair and equitable division of all your assets, including the house.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Houses acquired during the marriage are marital property subject to division. I am especially shocked by your unethical realtor, who could be prosecuted for practicing law without a license and should be reported to the authorities (it is highly unlikely that a document of that sort has any validity although show it to your lawyer). And if you ever do another real estate transaction, stay away from that broker.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    There are other factors that go into this before one can properly answer this question, for instance, the length of the marriage, where each party intends to live after the marriage, can either party afford the household affairs, etc. I encourage you to contact our office to discuss the matter in more detail.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    This will depend on many factors, such as how long you have been married, what other assets you have (separately and together), relative incomes, etc. There is an article about this topic on my website's "Blog" page, if you would like to read more about it. Best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 6/15/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    I would have to see the form that she signed, but I would probably imagine that the property is a community asset and each party is entitled to 50% of the equity (if any). That doesn't necessarily mean she gets the home, but she may be entitled to a buyout of her interest in it. If you are in my area and are looking for an attorney, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 6/15/2011
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