What rights does my husband have on the properties before our marriage in case of divorce? 39 Answers as of August 29, 2012

I purchased my home in 2009. I got married in 2011. I am curious to know what rights my spouse has to the home in case of separation or divorce. He is not on the deed, we have not refinanced and none of his money was used in the purchasing of the home. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
The house is your separate property by inception of title. He has no ownership rights. He may have a claim for economic contribution if there were improvements made to the home during the marriage which increased the value of the home (such as adding a room, swimming pool, etc.) Sometimes people think they are entitled to half of the equity gained, that is wrong. The equity gained ensures to the title of the home. I have had people ask about money spent paying the mortgage and wanting half of that back. Good idea, except to make such a claim the home owning spouse is entitled to claim reasonable rents which are most likely more than the mortgage payments. Bottom line, he has no rights.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 8/29/2012
Horace D. Cotton, PLLC | Horace D. Cotton
He may have an interest if he helped pay the mortgage, taxes and insurance or contributed to the cost of maintaining of the property.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 8/27/2012
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook | Cathy R. Cook
You are entitled to the equity you had in the property prior to marriage. However, the equity built after marriage is marital, and your husband is entitled to half of that.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 8/27/2012
John Russo | John Russo
Depends on were you live some jurisdiction treat this issue differently then others. In many such as here in RI here is how it works. If it is like you claim you owned the house before the marriage, and you never put him on the deed, and he is not on any mortgage document, and or equity line on the property the basic rule is this; He would be entitled to 1/2 of any appreciated value in the real estate during the term of the marriage, i.e. You would need two appraisals, but on the date of marriage house is worth $200,000.00 at time of divorce $210,000.00 starting point is always 50/50 but that can shift, but don't worry about that, so he would be entitled $5,000.00 1/2 of the appreciated value during term of marriage. I would not worry most real has gone down not up over the past few years. So don't transmute asset, put name on anything, big difference between 5k and 105k, granted also subject to the debt but could be more costly, so keep name off.
Answer Applies to: Rhode Island
Replied: 8/27/2012
Law Offices of Helene Ellenbogen, P.S.H | Helene Ellenbogen
Unless you purchased the house outright he has an equitable interest in the value of the house based on the fact that community funds paid the mortgage. Thus the equity would be divided by first deducting your down payment, any increase in value based on that amount and the rest would be a community asset in which he would have an interest. Since you haven't owned the house very long, you won't have very much equity over and above the down payment.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 8/27/2012
    Steven Alpers | Steven Alpers
    Property purchased before marriage is separate property. Keep his name off of the deed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy
    The Law Offices of Robert W. Bellamy | Robert W. Bellamy
    From what you say, probably none.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Mike Yeksavich | Mike Yeksavich
    He might not have any rights. Do you have a prenuptial agreement?
    Answer Applies to: Oklahoma
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Law Office of William L Spern | William Spern
    Any money he has paid toward the home would give him a portion of the increased value of the house from the date of marriage to the date of divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Danville Law Group | Scott Jordan
    Was any of his money used to pay the mortgage and/or maintenance of the house? If so, he may be entitled to a percentage of the equity based on the contributions he makes towards the house.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Cale Plamann | Cale Plamann
    He would probably have some right to the equity accrued in the house during the course of your marriage as your income during the marriage would be considered 'marital property.' In other words, he 'paid' half of every mortgage check you wrote during the course of the marriage (even if you used separate accounts).
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Beaulier Law Office
    Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
    It makes no difference who is on the deed. There may be a marital portion of the home which is equity that can be divided, and there may be a non-marital portion which is not divided. Much depends on the value of the home and the loan balance at the time you marriage and at the present time. You should consult with legal counsel.
    Answer Applies to: Minnesota
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC
    Musilli Brennan Associates PLLC | John F Brennan
    Keep it that way and you will have a good case for separate property.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Lombardi Law LLC
    Lombardi Law LLC | SUZANNE LOMBARDI
    In Alaska the question is whether the home has been transmuted into the marriage. If it was purchased before the marriage and no marital funds were used for the mortgage or the upkeep then you should be able to keep it separate. An attorney can better assist you with the details.
    Answer Applies to: Alaska
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Reza Athari & Associates, PLLC | Seth L. Reszko
    I can't answer the question with absolute certainty however in general, the house would be considered separate property and your husband would not be entitled to any equity or value of the property. If the property gained equity during the course of the marriage, husband could argue that the value obtained during the course of the marriage is community property.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C.
    Theodore W. Robinson, P.C. | Theodore W. Robinson
    He probably has very little interest in your house - other than any marital money that was used to reduce the amount of any mortgage on the house during the one year of marriage. Hire a good lawyer to go over all the financials and then address the issue knowledgeably.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A.
    Robert J. Merlin, P.A. | Robert J. Merlin
    He probably has no interest in it.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/27/2012
    Attorney at Law | John P. Rivers
    The court will look at what has happened to the home since 2011 in regards to improvements made or any increase in value. In most cases, it would appear that the argument would be that a portion of the equity is not marital property and a portion of the equity may be martial property subject to equitable division.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
    If community income was used to pay on or improve properties you owned before marriage, your husband is entitled to reimbursement of one-half of that total amount.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Roncone Law Offices, P.C.
    Roncone Law Offices, P.C. | John Roncone III
    This is a common issue. Typically, premarital property is not subject to division. However, the other spouse could make a number of arguments to assert an interest in that asset. For example, he or she could assert an equitable interest in the appreciation of value (assuming there was) of the asset over the course of the marriage. The success of such arguments depends greatly on a number of factors which go well beyond the limited info of your post. This is a situation where an experienced family law attorney should be consulted.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Ezim Law Firm | Dean Esposito
    If you used community funds to improve or maintain the home, he could claim reimbursement for one-half said amount. Also, he can claim one-half the principle reduction of each mortgage payment you made.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Property acquired pre-marriage is separate property of the person who acquired it. See Family Code Section 770.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Poole & Poole, P.A. | Wesley R. Poole
    As you describe it your house is non-marital and your husband would have no claim against it.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    SHAPIRO LAW GROUP | ERIC L. SHAPIRO
    The odds are it will be viewed as a pre-marital asset and not subject to being divided.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Fox Law Firm LLC
    Fox Law Firm LLC | Tina Fox
    If ALL of this information is true, then he does not have any rights. However, you may have done some things here and there to have to court consider it "marital" property. However, because of the length of marriage, we would agrue in your favor and more than likely, he would not have any rights to the property.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller
    Law Office Of Jody A. Miller | Jody A. Miller
    Under the limited facts you described, it is likely that the property would be considered your separate property and not subject to equitable division.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Sedin Begakis & Bish | Mindy Bish
    If community funds, ie: your earnings were used in the payment or maintenance of the home during marriage then he would be entitled to a money but not the property. If nothing was used then he would be entitled to nothing. This is a general statement of the law and there may be other facts which would affect the answer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Dorothy Spinelli, PC | Dorothy Spinelli
    The equity in the house before you got married is yours.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Leonard A. Kaanta, P.C. | Leonard A. Kaanta
    The house would be considered your seperate property.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You can argue that a portion of the house is your separate property. The burden is on you to prove this. The court can divide your separate property but tends to give you back your separate. Unfortunately, a portion of the house equity is also community probably.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida
    Mediation Services of Southwest Florida | Dennis J. Leffert, J.D.
    Your husband may not have any rights, but you should proceed as quickly as possible with the divorce. Have you considered Mediation? Mediation is Fast, Effective and Affordable. Check it out.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of Gregory Crain | Gregory Crain
    No rights to the home except for marital funds expended on the home.
    Answer Applies to: Arkansas
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    WARM SPRINGS LAW GROUP | Elliott D. Yug
    The house is separate property not community property. It is not his and he has no interest in it.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of Annette M. Cox, PLLC
    Law Office of Annette M. Cox, PLLC | Annette M. Cox
    According to caselaw and depending upon the value of the home, there could be a community "lien" against your home. For example, if you used community funds to pay the mortgage, then you would have to consider taking a look at the formula to assess any community interest in it. You are going to need to consult an attorney to accurately calculate that value, whatever it may be.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Law Office of Lynda H. LeBlanc | Lynda Leblanc
    Indiana is a community property state. That means everything owned and owed by the parties regardless of title and date of acquisition goes into the marital pot to be split up. You may be able to argue that you have kept the properties completely separate and therefore they should be set aside, but if you've been paying the mortgage or taxes on them with your earnings during the marriage, they are comingled. Look for an attorney that does high asset divorces. There are ways to minimize your loss, but they are very fact specific. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    Mary W Craig P.C. | Mary W Craig
    Your home is separate property and remained separate property after your marriage. If your husband contributed to the home during your marriage, he may be entitled to reimbursement. In some circumstances, a judge may order the sale of separate property to reimburse the marital estate. I would not expect that you in your case, however, because you have not been married that long. I think your home is safe.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    David A. Browde, P.C.
    David A. Browde, P.C. | David Browde
    To answer fully requires a detailed understanding of your finances during the marriage, but generally he would have an extremely limited interest - if any - in the property.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 8/22/2012
    McIlveen Family Law Firm
    McIlveen Family Law Firm | Angela McIlveen
    Generally, the definition of separate property is found in section 50-20(b)(2) of the North Carolina General Statutes - all real and personal property acquired before marriage, or property acquired during the marriage by bequest, devise, descent or gift. Professional and business licenses which would terminate on transfer are expressly defined to be separate property, as is any increase in value to separate property and income derived from such property. However, the increase in value that remains separate is passive appreciation only, such as by inflation, market forces, third-party effort, or government action. Increases in value attributable to the marital unit, i.e., active appreciation resulting from the personal, financial or managerial contributions of one or both spouses, is marital. Many times property is dual classified. This is often the case when property is purchased before the marriage and then, during the marriage the non owning spouse either increases the value of the home by improving the property or helping to make payments on the property.
    Answer Applies to: North Carolina
    Replied: 8/22/2012
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