Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

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Latest post 10-18-2010 12:43 PM by kath21. 11 replies.
  • 03-07-2010 10:50 PM

    • Mr_C
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    Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    I have a property that I acquired from my previous marriage. The property is 100% in my name and the ex-spouse has no atttachment to it. If I enter into a new marriage and pay the mortgage, insurance and property tax from my own income, does this become community property? At what point will it become community property? We will be living in this house for awhile until we can buy another property. We are going to have seperate bank accounts and one joint account to draw money from. The joint account will be used for groceries and vacation travel.

  • 03-07-2010 11:23 PM In reply to

    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    I'm in AZ, also a community property state, so I have some experience on the subject (learned the hard way).

    First thing you have to understand is the difference between ownership and marital interest.

    As long as the house is in your name it will always be owned as your sole and separate property.

    However, from the moment you are married your new wife will accrue a marital interest in the equity from the date of the marriage onward if certain conditions are met.

    Those conditions include paying the mortgage, insurance and property tax from your own income, because once you are married your income is community income just as her income is.

    There are two ways to avoid a marital interest accruing to your new wife.

    1 - A prenuptial agreement.

    Or

    2 - Don't use any of your income to support the house. In other words, you will need to have accumulated enough money as your sole and separate money prior to getting married to support the house without using any of that money or its earnings for any marital expenses and not using any money earned during the marriage.

    Even your separate bank accounts will not be sole and separate property if you put your earnings into them.

    That's overly simplified of course, and you would be wise to consult an attorney for chapter and verse as to how you prevent your sole and separate property from becoming marital property.

    Consulting a lawyer now will cost you a pittance compared to what it will cost you later if you don't get it right.

     

     

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  • 03-07-2010 11:36 PM In reply to

    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    " If I enter into a new marriage and pay the mortgage, insurance and property tax from my own income"

    When you say your "own income", are you referring to money you earn at your job following your marriage? Or are you referring to income that comes from investments you have now?

  • 03-08-2010 9:37 AM In reply to

    • Mr_C
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    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    It would not be from current investments. It would be from income during my future marriage. I was hoping that by me paying for the mortgage, insurance and property tax from my own income and having seperate accounts, would keep the property seperate instead of making it a community property.

  • 03-08-2010 10:07 AM In reply to

    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    " It would be from income during my future marriage. I was hoping that by me paying for the mortgage, insurance and property tax from my own income "

    No, sorry. California is a community property state. Half of your earned income during the marriage is hers, just as half her earned income is yours.

    If your earned income is used to pay the mortgage, taxes, insurance, etc., for the house, then any increase in equity starting with your date of marriage is part hers.

    You might want to consider getting a prenup to clarify exactly what equity exists in the house before marriage, and exempt that from the commmunity property.

    I am not a lawyer, but am married and live in California. I invite correction or clarification.

  • 03-08-2010 10:20 AM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    No, that's that one of the problem areas--say if you use your job income -which is community income not separate income to pay the bills for something that is/was your separate property you run risks that its no longer a clean piece of separate property PLUS there are other issues of is a spouse entitled to any appreciation of property eventhough tit was clean separate property.

    The rules vary a bit by state but if you have concerns about  keeping the property separate I sugggest you review it with counsel and  craft such paperwork /prenup as is consistent with CA law.



  • 03-08-2010 1:16 PM In reply to

    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    Mr_C:
    It would not be from current investments. It would be from income during my future marriage. I was hoping that by me paying for the mortgage, insurance and property tax from my own income and having seperate accounts, would keep the property seperate instead of making it a community property.

     

    Sorry, your income IS community property.

    Why get married if you don't believe in "sharing all your worldly goods"?  CA law works toward that marital goal.   The beloved rarely is convinced of your love and care when it doesn't include "sharing", so don't be surprised if broaching the idea of a prenup ruins your relaionship.

    And be aware that, unless one's beloved is advised of her rights by her own lawyer before signing, prenups can be easily thrown out, so do it right with her FULL knowledge of what she's normally entitled to and what legal rights you want her to give up. 

     That should throw a wrench in the machinery...but, as said, marriage is about sharing so I wouldn't marry if I didn't want to share.  Those marriages rarely last and the divorce rate is already over 53%.

     

  • 03-08-2010 6:46 PM In reply to

    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    Generally income earned during the marriage is part of the marital estate. If you use that money to pay for the property she will acquire some ownership interest in it.

  • 03-08-2010 9:25 PM In reply to

    • Mr_C
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    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    Thanks for all the information. It was helpful. I do not want to draft a prenup so, I guess I will need to take the risk.

  • 03-09-2010 10:43 PM In reply to

    • Drew
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    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    There is nothing wrong with a prenup--and it often clarifies issues for both people--so do not assume its a bad tool to use....



  • 10-18-2010 3:17 AM In reply to

    • anjay
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    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    I was wondering if the same thing applies for the state of Maryland.  My husband purchases a house before we were married.  We have now been married for 9 years.  I help pay all of the bills including the mortgage. Do I have a financial interest in this home, because if not, I will no longer be paying any bills.

  • 10-18-2010 12:43 PM In reply to

    Re: Property acquired prior to marriage - State of Ca

    You need to ask a local attorney or google MD marital property to find out.  Ca is a well-known community property state: don't know your states laws regarding marital property, but most states give spouse an interest if you're helping to pay the bills on it.

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