My wife’s name is on the deed of the house that we lived in for the five years we were married. I know I have the right to shared equity while we were married.
My question is, we want to do a uncontested divorce through mail. Once it becomes final, do I lose my right to that shared equity?
Any property rights that are not resolved in the divorce judgment may be waived, depending upon the property at issue, the applicable law, the history of the divorce negotiations, and exact terms of the Judgment. As you advise that you are intending to utilize a simplified divorce process, there may not be any record of the negotiations and the judgment may be in a form that is not sufficiently detailed to address any marital interest you may be entitled to claim in the house.
The nature and extent of a marital interest in real estate when the property was not purchased during the marriage or when the property is titled in one spouse’s name only is a complex issue due to interests in real property having a special status in the law. Your inquiry does not give the details of the acquisition nor the status of any liens on the property. As you are not a co-owner of record of the property, any marital property rights you may have to the house must be resolved in the divorce.
If you wish to pursue what, if any, interest you may have in the house, you should review all the details of the house purchase, any premarital agreement, the source of any down payment, payment of any debts on the house, and the extent of the entire marital estate with a qualified attorney who can advise you under the applicable law what may be at issue to help you determine whether the benefits of a simplified divorce outweigh pursuing any marital interest in the house.