Who Gets The House In An Equitable Distribution State?

marital homeQuestion:

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?

Answer:

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.

Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan
Cordell & Cordell Pennsylvania divorce attorney William Phelan, IV

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.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Pennsylvania divorce lawyer William J. Phelan, IV, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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Shawn Garrison is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell & Cordell UK. He has written countless pieces dealing with the unique child custody and divorce issues that men and fathers face. Through his work on CordellCordell.com, CordellCordell.co.uk, and DadsDivorce.com, Mr. Garrison has become an authority on the complexities of the legal experience and was a content creator for the YouTube series “Dad’s Divorce Live” and additional videos on both the Dad’s Divorce and Cordell & Cordell YouTube channels. Mr. Garrison has managed the sites of these customers, and fostered the creation of several of their features, including the Cordell & Cordell attorney and office pages, the Dad’s Divorce Newsletter, and the Cordell & Cordell newsletter.

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