Protecting Property From Division In A Divorce

protecting propertyQuestion:

I am in the process of building and purchasing my first home and would like to know how to protect this property from my wife before my purchase is finalized in the event we divorce.

We are both close to calling it quits, so I don’t want her to just wait until I have bought the home so she could claim the house is marital property when we divorce.

What can I do to protect my home from my wife should she decide to divorce me after I made the purchase?

Answer:

I am unable to give you legal advice on divorce. I can give general divorce help for men, though, my knowledge is based on Pennsylvania divorce laws where I am licensed to practice.

Typically, any real property (e.g., the home) is subject to division when parties separate and subsequently divorce as long as it is marital in nature.

Where I practice, however, with regard to a marital residence, the only aspect that is subject to equitable distribution – the division of assets in conjunction with a divorce – when dealing with real property is the equity in a residence, which is the current fair market value of the home minus all liens associated with the home.

For example, if your home has a fair market value of $300,000 but the liens associated with the house are $280,000 the equity in the home is $20,000, with that $20,000 amount being the “equity” that is subject to division in the event of a divorce.

In order to protect your asset, you would certainly be able to enter into a contract with your wife, if she agreed, in which you both agreed that in the event of a divorce, the home is your sole and separate property and it would not be subject to division in the event of a divorce.

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However, as I mentioned, your wife would need to agree to this and sign a document, typically called a “postnuptial agreement,” to formalize this agreement and protect your home as your separate asset.

If no agreement is entered into, the residence you are building would, most likely, be considered part of the marital estate subject to division at the time of divorce.

Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than divorce tips for men, so please consult with divorce lawyers for men in your jurisdiction.

To arrange an initial consultation to discuss divorce rights for men with a Cordell & Cordell attorney, including Philadelphia Divorce Lawyer Caroline J. Thompson, contact Cordell & Cordell.

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2 comments on “Protecting Property From Division In A Divorce

    Answer from Cordell & Cordell Indiana attorney Sara Pitcher
    @Matt Hammers…here is answer to your question from Cordell & Cordell Sara Pitcher, who is licensed in Indiana….

    Answer: I will preface my answer with the fact that while I am licensed to practice law in the State of Indiana, this response does not constitute an attorney client relationship and is being made only on the information you have supplied. For a better analysis of your legal issues, I would encourage you to schedule a consultation with an attorney.

    If you have not yet filed for divorce, you may want to move forward with filing so you can request a preliminary hearing to address issues such as payment of marital bills.

    The court will likely order each party to contribute a certain amount to the monthly expenses while the divorce is pending.

    If you are awarded custody of the children, then it is likely that the court will also order your wife to pay child support. It is possible to request child support back to the date you file your petition for dissolution, or the date she left the residence, whichever occurred later.

    If you and your wife each agree that the house should be sold as neither of you can afford to maintain it individually, then the amount that the house sells for would be applied to the amount owed. Then, whatever balance was remaining would be divided between the parties.

    The judge may consider ordering one party to pay more based on income, other property received in the division of the marital estate, etc. However, where I practice, there is a presumption of an equitable division.

    Your best recourse would be to seek out immediate legal assistance from an attorney who focuses on domestic litigation such as the attorneys at Cordell & Cordell: http://www.cordellcordell.com/

    upside down
    My wife and I owe way to much money on a house we both own. Say the house aprased for 120,000.00 but we owe 140,000.00 will we have to split the 20,000.00 or the whole 140,000.00 The wife walked out on my 2 kids and I about a month ago, and has not helped with any of the bills.Her name is on 90% of the bills. The budget was very tight before she walked out, now all I can say is WOW. what is a guy to do.

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