I owned half of my house prior to marriage and the other half of the house was transferred to me as a gift after my marriage, so the house is fully paid off with no contributions from my soon-to-be-ex-wife.
No marital funds were used for anything involving the purchase of the house, though both my wife and I live there as our primary residence.
Is this house now considered a “marital home” subject to equitable distribution property division laws?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on New Jersey divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.
All property acquired by one party prior to the marriage remains the separate property of that party so long as it has not been commingled with marital property.
Further, all property which is acquired during the course of the marriage by either spouse by way of a gift or inheritance is not subject to equitable distribution.
As long as you paid all of the upkeep expenses and taxes affiliated with the house with your own funds and did not use marital assets, the property should be exempt from equitable distribution.
Note that where a house owned by one spouse prior to the marriage has appreciated in value during the marriage, while the non-owner spouse is not entitled to share in the passive appreciation in value, she may be entitled to that portion of the increase in value to which she has contributed.
The issue of separate versus martial property become complicated where there has been commingling of the assets.
Generally, where separate property such as a premarital home that is acquired by either gift or inheritance, is commingled with marital property, it loses its separate character and becomes subject to equitable distribution.
Whether commingling of the assets has occurred is a fact sensitive analysis that depends upon the intent of the parties.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.