I bought a house while I was married that I paid with entirely with my own money.
Now that we are divorcing, I want to keep the house. I can prove that she didn’t help with any of the payments. Will she still get half of the house?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and cannot give you legal advice, I can give some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I practice in Pennsylvania—which is an equitable distribution state and not a community property state — generally speaking, sole property that a spouse had going into the marriage as well as any gifts that spouse may have received during the marriage can, potentially, remain sole property at the time of a divorce (but for any increase in value on such property).
Yet when a spouse commingles his or her sole property with marital property, it could then become a marital asset. Whether commingling occurs is a very fact-specific inquiry that a court must make and can depend on factors such as title of the property involved as well as the intent of the parties involved.
Also in Pennsylvania, there are a limited number of courts that will consider a credit to a spouse who uses non-marital or sole property to contribute to the marital estate (e.g., purchasing the marital residence). This credit diminishes over time and can even vanish after a period of 20 years transpires.
Due to the sensitive and extremely fact-specific nature of this situation, I would strongly suggest you contact an attorney who handles family law matters in your jurisdiction, such as Cordell & Cordell, to see how your state’s laws can specifically help you with this serious situation. This type of attorney should be helpful in providing you specific assistance for your matter.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips, so please consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws in your state and how they particularly impact your potential case.