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?
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.