After getting married I moved into the home my wife owned. We refinanced the mortgage about 18 months ago and put my name on the loan as well as the title/deed.
My wife now wants a divorce and says I am not entitled to any of the equity. Am I entitled to receive half the equity in a settlement?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state, I can give some general guidance on this issue.
If a spouse puts property in joint names, it is presumed to be marital property subject to equitable distribution. This is called “commingling.”
Equitable distribution is the term used to describe the process in which the courts will divide the parties’ marital property equally. There are a number of factors the court will use in determining how to divide all marital property.
Generally, there are a couple of options the parties may have in deciding what should be done with the marital home, which include selling the home or having one spouse keep the home. If the parties decide to sell the home, the remaining proceeds will be split 50/50, if any, after it is first applied to the mortgage and any other liens on the property.
Selling the home is probably the best solution due to the fact that if one spouse ends up keeping the house the court will not be able to release the other spouse from any possible future liability from the mortgage company for past due payments. Therefore, a request shall be made to the judge to order the spouse to refinance the home in his/her name alone.
However, this spouse may have a difficult time refinancing the home.
I would encourage you to contact a domestic litigation attorney licensed in you both areas who can examine the full details of your situation. I also recommend that you obtain documents of the refinanced mortgage and the deed for the attorney to review.
Remember I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips.