My name isn’t on the marital home mortgage since my wife owned it before we were married, but I have contributed substantial time and money in renovating the house and other home improvement projects.
Do I have a claim to any financial interest in the home given the upgrades that I either performed myself or helped pay for?
I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Indiana divorce and property laws where I am licensed to practice.
In general, property brought into the marriage may be marital property if it was commingled with marital property. Since you made upgrades or improvements to the house, resided in the house, and have been married for a substantial amount of time, it is likely that under my state’s property laws, you would be entitled to a share of the property.
Typically, there is a presumption of an equitable division. It is possible that your wife could argue that she should be entitled to a greater share of the marital estate based on the fact that she brought the residence into the marriage.
However, at a minimum, the court would likely consider the amount spent on the house during the marriage to be marital property, including any equity built, which was able to be paid based on your joint incomes and contributions.
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The court will look at both the income producing contributions and non-income producing contributions you each made to the marital estate in deciding a fair and equitable division of the marital property.
Even if the property is solely in one party’s name, it may still be considered marital property depending on how it was treated during the marriage.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with a divorce lawyer in your jurisdiction.