Property acquired before marriage

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Latest post 01-28-2008 6:52 PM by Fxston. 4 replies.
  • 01-28-2008 4:33 PM

    • Gwen3
    • Not Ranked
    • Joined on 08-18-2006
    • Posts 1

    Question [=?] Property acquired before marriage

    My husband bought our house from his parents before we were married. The house was torn down and he (my husband) & his father built a new house and we have been living there since the day we were married (4.5 years ago). The house is only under his name but all our money has been co-mingled since we were married. I don't know if it makes a difference, but we lived together in the old house and designed the new house together with the intent of getting married and living there together. If we divorce, he doesn't think I am entitled to any part of the house since it was acquired before we were married and he is the only one on title. I think it counts as community property(we live in CA) since our money has been co-mingled since we were married and when I worked (before we had children), my money helped to pay the mortgage, etc.
  • 01-28-2008 4:40 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on 03-30-2000
    • PA
    • Posts 49,590

    re: Property acquired before marriage

    Laymans take:

    Separate property acquired pre marriage may still be separate -if you co mingled money to improve home it may be morphed----your fact pattern needs review by CA counsel.

    Living together doesn't count.

    Appreciation value post marriage may be subject to division.



  • 01-28-2008 5:32 PM In reply to

    re: Property acquired before marriage

    "If we divorce, he doesn't think I am entitled to any part of the house since it was acquired before we were married and he is the only one on title."

    He's wrong, but he's in a better position than if you had acquired the house after the marriage. The house is his separate property because it was acquired in his name before the marriage. However, if you were to divorce, you would be entitled to some interest based on the contribution of community property funds to the mortgage payment and any post-marriage improvements (I can't tell from your post whether the existing house was built before or after the marriage).

    "I think it counts as community property(we live in CA) since our money has been co-mingled since we were married and when I worked (before we had children), my money helped to pay the mortgage, etc."

    Absent a prenuptial agreement, their is no "your money" and "his money." While his paycheck might be made payable only to him, both spouses' earnings during the marriage are generally considered community property.

    If you're contemplating divorce, consult with a local attorney.
  • 01-28-2008 6:38 PM In reply to

    re: Property acquired before marriage

    You have to understand the difference between owning something and having a financial interest in it.

    Your husband owns the property. You don't.

    You, however, may certainly have a financial interest in the equity that has built up in the 4.5 years that you've been married. If that turns out to be the case, then your husband will have to figure out how to pay you off if you get divorced.

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  • 01-28-2008 6:52 PM In reply to

    re: Property acquired before marriage

    Your post doesn't bother to mention with any specificity the details of this mortgage. I presume you and/or your husband borrowed a chunk o' change to build the house; did the mortgage include money for the land (pay off parents?)?

    Once you were married, there's no "his"/"mine" in terms of job income, for instance (sure, someone can have pre-marital income/inheritance/gift money that they've kept in a separate account, and that sort of thing remains "separate" property -- though note that it can be taken into account when it comes to deciding stuff like spousal support if any of that was used to support the marriage).

    You've acquired a marital interest in the house during the marriage. The only way you could not have is if he used gift or inheritance money that was his alone to pay for it. You also don't say the mortgage includes $$$ for buying the land from his parents or whether it's just $$$ used to build the house.

    Divorce 101 -- don't listen to the husband. What he "feels" or "thinks" is irrelevant.

    Consult with local counsel.
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