Can my wife get half of the equity in our house if we divorce when she hasn’t put one penny into paying for it?

UPDATED: Aug 17, 2019

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Can my wife get half of the equity in our house if we divorce when she hasn’t put one penny into paying for it?

Our house appraised for $120 and I have a line of credit on it for $30,000. Her name is not on the line of credit. I only like 3 more months paying the house off. We are getting a divorce and I’m worried that she can get half of the remaining equity that is not tied up on the loan or if she can even get half of that amount also.

Asked on August 17, 2019 under Family Law, Alabama


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If the house was purchased during marriage, then it is a marital asset and she is entitled to a share of the value. If she worked and made a similar amount to you, a court can take note of the fact that despite her having her own income, you paid entirely for the house and give you a larger share of the equity. On the other hand, if she was a stay-at-home mother or homemaker, or worked part-time so she'd have time to take care of the children, so that her "job" was mother, homemaker, etc., then the court will likely not hold her lack of contribution against her: she was doing what you and she apparently agreed she'd do, after all. In that case, she'll likely get half the equity. Courts have the power to adjust or tailor the distribution to the facts of the case, to do "equity" (fairness) in light of those circumstances.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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