Can your spouse get half of your house if you owned it before marriage?

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Can your spouse get half of your house if you owned it before marriage?

Asked on December 28, 2011 under Family Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you live in a community property state such as CA, community property is property acquired during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.

If you acquired your house before marriage, it is your separate property and your spouse has no claim.  However, if improvements are made to the house during marriage and those improvements are made from community property funds such as income during marriage, your spouse would have a one half interest in the value of those improvements which increased the value of the home.  If those improvements to the house are made during marriage but are made from separate property funds (income prior to marriage), the value of the improvements is separate property and your spouse has no claim.  If you made improvements to the house during marriage from an inheritance you received, the value of the improvements is separate property whether you received the inheritance before or during marriage because an inheritance is separate property.

If mortgage payments are being made during marriage from income during marriage those mortgage payments are from community property funds and your spouse would have a one half interest in the amount of the mortgage payments made during marriage and could assert a proportionate interest in the house.  For example, if ten percent of the mortgage was paid during marriage from community property funds, your spouse could assert a five percent claim to the house based on half the mortgage payments made during marriage from community property funds.

If you don't live in a community property state, then other rules may apply.

 


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