How will assets be divided?

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Latest post Thu, Jan 8 2015 2:30 PM by ca19lawyer2. 5 replies.
  • Sun, Jan 4 2015 4:54 PM

    • karotto
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 2 2014
    • CA
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    How will assets be divided?

    Hi. My wife and I married 3 years ago in Europe. She is American and I am European but I do have a green card. When we got married I owned a house. The house sold about a week before we got married and I made a good profit with the sale. I did not have to pay taxes because I had lived in the house for 2 years so I think it is not considered income. I also received financial gifts from my father in Europe. 

     

    My wife owns one house that she had owned since before we got married and I own a 2nd house but it was filed as a sole and separate property when I bought it meaning that she forfeit all rights on that house I believe. Here are my questions:

     

    If my first house sold before the wedding (that was when the purchase agreement was signed but the check from the title company after we had gotten married) will the money that I received be considered communal property by the courts? Likewise, will a gift from my father to me be considered communal property and will I have to share that in our divorce?

     

    My position is that she should not benefit from a house that I renovated in 2 years of work and purchased and sold before we got married.

     

    During our marriage we had a child and I spent all my income on our life expenses. She did not work but stayed at home with the child. I made less money than our expenses were (we paid the extra from my savings).

     

    We have no cash left but each of us has a house with full/some equity. No debt exists.

     

    No pre-nuptials or any other agreements exist. We are in Washington state.

     

     

    Any educated advice will be very much appreciated. Thank you

  • Sun, Jan 4 2015 5:54 PM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,405

    Re: How will assets be divided?

    Laymans guess.

    Separate property acquired prior to marriage remains separate property..unless the waters got muddied.

    Gifts are separate property.

    If you mixed the sale proceeds with monies earned after the marriage or into joint accounts ...it's likely lost its separate property status...your burden to prove its separate ...in your case if theft was end down to near zero the distinction may be moot?

    Appreciation in value of separate property may be in the pot for,division as community property.

    In WA community property is not a rigid 50 50 butnsomemlatitude for " fair" 

    Im not sure I see much to divide...each has a separate home ....long debate over small stuff may be negative returns ? 

    Child support, custody, and imputing a realistic wage to her side of equation or day care  may not be so easy

    ...l

     



  • Mon, Jan 5 2015 2:42 PM In reply to

    Re: How will assets be divided?

    karotto:
    My wife and I married 3 years ago in Europe. She is American and I am European but I do have a green card.

    I'm not sure if any of this background info is the slightest bit relevant.  Where did you live when you got married and where have you lived since you got married?

     

    karotto:
    When we got married I owned a house.

    Located where?  What did you do with the money you received when you sold it?

     

    karotto:
    I also received financial gifts from my father in Europe.

    This is meaningless without knowing when you received these gifts and what you did with the $$.

     

    karotto:
    My wife owns one house that she had owned since before we got married

    Located where?

     

    karotto:
    I own a 2nd house but it was filed as a sole and separate property when I bought it meaning that she forfeit all rights on that house I believe.

    Again...located where?  And what did you mean when you wrote, "it was filed"?  What was filed?  Are you saying that the deed by which you took title identifies the property as your "sole and separate property"?  If so, that has no bearing on your wife's rights (or lack thereof).  Only a writing signed by your wife can serve to abrogate her rights.  Do you have such a writing?

     

    karotto:
    If my first house sold before the wedding (that was when the purchase agreement was signed but the check from the title company after we had gotten married) will the money that I received be considered communal property by the courts? Likewise, will a gift from my father to me be considered communal property and will I have to share that in our divorce?

    The term is "community property" (not "communal").  Assuming that Washington law applies, both "pots" of money started out as your separate property.  Whether they remained as such depends on facts not included in your post (i.e., what you did with the money after you received it).

     

    karotto:
    During our marriage we had a child and I spent all my income on our life expenses. She did not work but stayed at home with the child.

    I suggest strongly that you abandon the postiion that staying home to take care of an infant/toddler constitutes "not work[ing]."

     

    karotto:
    We have no cash left but each of us has a house with full/some equity. No debt exists.

    I'm guessing then that what you really want to know is how the courts will divide your assets (i.e., the two houses) in the event you divorce and assuming the two of you cannot agree on how to divde them (you didn't say whether a divorce is actually in process or being seriously contemplated).  Correct?  If so, it's not apparent from the information in your post.  You'll need to answer my questions above or consult with a local divorce attorney.

     

    karotto:
    We are in Washington state.

    So...why does your profile refer to CA?

  • Wed, Jan 7 2015 8:52 PM In reply to

    • karotto
      Consumer
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    • Joined on Tue, Sep 2 2014
    • CA
    • Posts 13

    Re: How will assets be divided?

    Thank you for all your suggestions. The first house I made profit with was located in CA. The house she currently owns is in NM. The other one I own (sole and separate) is also in NM. The sole and separate agreement was filed also in NM. (no other paperwork was signed). We always had joint accounts and housing sale proceeds and gifts were put into that joint account. 

    Thanks again

  • Thu, Jan 8 2015 5:59 AM In reply to

    • Drew
      Consumer
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Thu, Mar 30 2000
    • PA
    • Posts 51,405

    Re: How will assets be divided?

    Laymans suggestions...

    Not clear if you are residents of NM or CA.....both are community property states but rules may differ a bit...

    If you took separate funds /gifts and put them into some common joint pot they may have morphed into. Community peoperty unless they were somehow held separate and identified separate , which I doubt.

    The point may be moot if the joint pot is about empty.

    If you took community assets to pay off a note on separate property as is possible per an earlier post..you may have muddied waters of status of that property. Or at least a portion of equity in same. 

    Not clear what your debate is all aboUt as to homes .

    You may have much more serious issues as to child custody and child support ...and no clue as  to who earns or is capable of earning what

     

    Snd you will do better with legal input from counsel in the right state...



  • Thu, Jan 8 2015 2:30 PM In reply to

    Re: How will assets be divided?

    You didn't answer most of the questions I asked, so I can only give you very general thoughts.  If the equity in each house is roughly close, then it may be simplest to agree that you get one house and she gets the other, free and clear of any claims by the other.  Having commingled money that is now gone may or may not be a big issue.  I strongly encourage you to consult with a local attorney.

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