What are a spouse’s rights to as house that was purchased before marriage and put solely in the other spouse’s name?

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What are a spouse’s rights to as house that was purchased before marriage and put solely in the other spouse’s name?

My wife and I have been together for 4 years. We just got married 14 months ago and separated 9 months later. The whole time we were together I gave her my paychecks. The house was bought 3 1/2 years ago and was put in her name. Do I have any legal rights to the house in the divorce?

Asked on June 21, 2011 under Family Law, Virginia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need a really good lawyer here.  Generally speaking, assets purchased prior to marriage are considered separate property (unless there is a specific action to the contrary that would allow a court to rule otherwise)  and assets purchased during a marriage are marital property regardless of whose name they are in as long as they are purchased with what would be considered marital funds (like an inheritance). Now, from the way that you phrased the question here it appears that the property was purchased with joint funds but titled only in her name.  A very dangerous thing for you and you may be out of luck.  But I would try and show the purchase and subsequent marriage as one transaction with one intent.  AS your lawyer if this approach would fly, so to speak. Good luck.


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