My question is about marital property division. We purchased a house shortly after we were married partly because I paid off $3,000 in debt she owed.
This answer only includes general divorce help for men since I am only licensed to practice in Oklahoma and am thus unable to provide any advice on property laws in your state.
Your case presents issues relating to the definition and division of marital property and debt. Generally, marital property and debt is defined as all property purchased or debt incurred during the marriage.
With a few exceptions, such as gifts and inheritances, anything you or your wife bought or loans either of you took out during your marriage belongs to both of you together and will be equitably divided in the divorce. For the most part, it doesn’t matter whose name is on what.
Since the house was purchased during the marriage, it is likely considered marital property that will be divided in the divorce.
You have a few options: you can take the house and pay your wife half of any equity; she can take the house and pay you half of any equity; or the house can be sold and the two of you can each keep half of any equity.
You also have the option of agreeing to some other arrangement that the two of you design and are happy with.
Unfortunately, unless you took out a loan for the $3,000 in debt you paid off, it looks like that money will be hard to get back.
It’s likely that the court would simply look at it as a debt paid during the marriage. If you did take out a loan, then you can ask that it be divided as a marital debt.
Please understand that my opinions are based upon the limited facts that you provided to me. For a more in depth discussion of fathers rights and legal advice on divorce, I urge you to contact a family law attorney.