Will I be entitled to a house if my husband bought it before we were married? 33 Answers as of July 09, 2013

If my husband bought our house before we were married, would I still be entitled to half in a divorce?

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Reeves Law Firm, P.C.
Reeves Law Firm, P.C. | Roy L. Reeves
No. Property acquired prior to marriage is separate property.
Answer Applies to: Texas
Replied: 6/3/2013
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook
The Law Office of Cathy R. Cook | Cathy R. Cook
If you and your husband paid a mortgage on the house during your marriage, part of the equity built by the principal payments is marital. Also, if you made any improvements to the house during the marriage, the increased value to the house created by those improvements is marital.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 9/20/2011
Dunnings Law Firm
Dunnings Law Firm | Steven Dunnings
There are a number of factors that need to be considered in order to provide an informed opinion.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 6/23/2013
Beaulier Law Office
Beaulier Law Office | Maury Beaulier
All property is presumed marital until proven otherwise. Your spouse may see k a non-marital interest in the home for that portion of the equity that was accrued prior to the marriage.
Answer Applies to: Minnesota
Replied: 9/20/2011
Michael D. Fluke, P.A.
Michael D. Fluke, P.A. | Michael D. Fluke
No, the house would be a pre-marital asset. You may be entitled to half the marital funds that were contributed to the payments or improvements on the home, but not the home itself. I suggest you consult an experienced Family Law attorney to discuss your case in greater detail and learn all of your rights and options. Good luck.
Answer Applies to: Florida
Replied: 9/20/2011
    Horizons Law Group, LLC
    Horizons Law Group, LLC | Michelle B. Fitzgerald
    Property division assumption starts at half. From there the length of the marriage can be considered and other factors, such as property brought in to the marriage. Simply because he owned it prior to the marriage does not mean it will it is not considered in the divorce.
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 9/20/2011
    Law Office of Rhonda Ellifritz | Rhonda Ellifritz
    It would depend on whether it was fully paid for before you were married, improvements made during the marriage, etc.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A.
    Joanna Mitchell & Associates, P.A. | Joanna Mitchell
    Only if he added you to the deed at some point. However, even if he didn't, that doesn't mean that you don't have any interest in the house. You should consult with an attorney in order to determine your potential rights and options regarding this and other possible issues.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell
    Law Office of Richard B. Kell | Richard B. Kell
    Not necessarily half, but it's possible you may be entitled to some portion of the equity, depending on the length of the marriage and other factors. You need to speak with a divorce attorney about your case in much more detail to get a better picture of the property division.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Manhattan Family Law Attorney
    Manhattan Family Law Attorney | Paul W. Matthews
    Under NYS law if he owned it before the marriage and it is titled in his name only you would not be entitlted unless you made improvements or paid the mortgage.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq.
    Law & Mediation Office of Jeffrey L. Pollock, Esq. | Jeffrey Lawrence Pollock
    There are so many factors that would be needed to be addressed to answer this question. How long was your marriage? Was the deed ever titled in joint name? How does the judge you get feel about gold-diggers? Did the realty appreciate or depreciate in value? Are there other assets to divide (instead)?
    Answer Applies to: Pennsylvania
    Replied: 7/9/2013
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law
    Gary Moore, Attorney at Law | Gary Moore
    You might be entitled to half of any enhancement to the value of the house stemming from your actions or contributions.
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
    Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
    No. You might have a Moore/Marsden community interest in the house arising from mortgage paydown or improvements made with community income during the marriage, but under the facts you relate, the house is your husband's separate property (subject to potential community interests).
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson
    Law Office of Michael E. Hendrickson | Michael E. Hendrickson
    Unlikely, unless you can demonstrate that during the course of your marriage that you established a marital claim to the property by contributing to its maintenance, improvement through your provision of labor and/or materials or by paying others to provide such, payment of taxes, or in other ways that caused the value of the property to increase or at least be maintained.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    ROWE LAW FIRM
    ROWE LAW FIRM | Jeffrey S. Wittenbrink
    The house is your husband's separate property. However, you may be entitled to a credit for community funds spent to pay the mortgage or to maintain and repair the house, so you may still have rights regarding compensation due to the fact that the house was purchased.
    Answer Applies to: Louisiana
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren
    Law Office of Patricia Van Haren | Patricia Van Haren
    You may be entitled to a portion of the increase in value of the home if community funds went to pay down the principal on the mortgage during the marriage. The home would remain the separate property of your spouse unless you were placed on title to the property. If you are on title, then you will be entitled to the community interest of the house.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares
    Law Offices of Thomas D. Nares | Thomas D. Nares
    Is the title to the property still in his name only and if so and without having more information, the property is his separate property. However, you might have a right to reimbursement for community contributions. Good luck.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    No, you are only entitled to one-half of any community interest in the house as a result of principal reduction payments made during the marriage with community funds.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    George Pecherek & Associates, P.C.
    George Pecherek & Associates, P.C. | Andrew John Hawes
    Probably not, but you might be depending upon the circumstances. While property brought to the marriage is non-marital, individual property, there may be circumstances that would entitle you to some portion of the house. For example, if marital assets (such as income from either of your jobs) was used to pay the mortgage, tax bills, and upkeep for the house, and you cannot trace the amount and extent of these payments, the court may find that the property is marital in nature through "transmutation." This legal term simply means that marital property was used to pay for non-marital property to the point that they are so mixed together as to be indistinguishable. Best course of action would probably be to hire an attorney specializing in divorce law to assist you on this matter.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Glenn E. Tanner
    Glenn E. Tanner | Glenn E. Tanner
    You are entitled to a fair and equitable division of all your assets and debts. That may or may not be 50/50 of any one particular asset.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Petit & Dommershausen SC
    Petit & Dommershausen SC | Tajara Dommershausen
    Depends was it paid off? Did you pay for it during the marriage? How long did you own it before marriage? How long were you married?
    Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
    Replied: 6/23/2013
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC
    Vincent J. Bernabei LLC | Vincent J. Bernabei
    This depends on how long you've been married, how long he had the house before you were married, whether you lived in the house before marriage, and the contributions, financial and otherwise, that you've made to the house since you were married.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law
    John E. Kirchner, Attorney at Law | John Kirchner
    Generally, no. Premarital property is considered separate property. But, if the property has appreciated in value during the marriage, you would be entitled to a fair share of that increase as a part of the overall distribution of marital property because the appreciation is considered marital.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP
    Cody and Gonillo, LLP | Christine Gonilla
    It is part of the marital estate and will be equitably divided; there will probably be consideration for his pre-marital contribution.
    Answer Applies to: Connecticut
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Michael Apicella
    Michael Apicella | Apicella Law and Mediation
    Like many legal questions, the answer is: "it depends" on the facts in your case. For instance, was there a mortgage that was paid with community funds (such as one party's income) during marriage? If so, then the "community" likely acquired an interest in the home. Meaning, that there is a separate property, and community property portion of the home. In California, the formula to determine separate and community interest is called "Moore-Marsden." You can look it up via Google. The next question is: "is there any equity?" If there is no equity, then the division analysis may be altered. For instance, instead of divide any net equity, which if there is none, the question becomes whether one party wants to take the property (and all debt) even though the house is underwater, or whether the parties prefer to engage in a short sale. Best to hire a local family law lawyer to assist with the analysis.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    This is a complex issue and I would recommend that you consult an attorney. If you made mortgage payments during the marriage, you might be entitled to something from the equity of the home. However, this depends on current value, payments made during the marriage, and value when you married him. In today's economy, usually there is no equity to divide but every case is different.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    The Law Office of Erin Farley
    The Law Office of Erin Farley | Erin Farley
    You would be entitled to 1/2 of the community property portion of the home. Depending on the length of your marriage and the source of the funding to pay the mortgage, improvements, etc., this amount could be substantial or de minimus.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
    Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
    A careful analysis of the history surrounding the house while married is required to determine if there is any community interest in the house.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/19/2011
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy
    Law Office of Cassandra Savoy | Cassandra Savoy
    Maybe. It depends on a number of factors, for example, how long were you married?
    Answer Applies to: New Jersey
    Replied: 6/23/2013
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni
    Law Office of Michael W. Bugni | Jay W. Neff
    From the limited information you provide, there is no way to even begin to make a prediction about how the house would be divided. 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: 9/19/2011
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