When is a home considered marital property?

divorce attorney Jill DuffyQuestion:

A few years after we married, my wife and I built a new house. The deed and mortgage is in her name. She is threatening to sell the house, kick me out, and keep all the proceeds from the sale.

What are my rights? Is the home considered marital property even though it’s in her name?


First, let me preface my answer by stating that I am not licensed to practice law in your state. The information in the article is general in nature. You should contact an attorney in your jurisdiction immediately to discuss your options.

First you need to determine if the home is marital property. In most states, the name on the title is not determinative of whether the property is marital.

Marital property is defined as all property acquired by either party during the course of the marriage, prior to the date of final separation. Property acquired prior to the marriage or after the date of separation is excluded from marital property, as are gifts and inheritances received by either party at any point before, during, or after the marriage.

Additionally, any property excluded by an agreement, for example a pre-nuptial agreement, is also excluded from marital property.

If the home is marital property and your wife wishes to sell it you may need to get court intervention to stop the sale, or to divide the proceeds. If you have not already, you may want to file for divorce so that your marital property (including the house) comes under the divorce court’s jurisdiction. If you do not take immediate action, and your wife sells the home, your inaction could be seen as giving your consent to the sale.

You should contact an attorney who is licensed in Pennsylvania to further discuss the specifics of your situation. Cordell & Cordell does represent clients in Pennsylvania. Thank you for submitting your question.


Jill A. Duffy is an Associate Attorney in the Troy, Mich., office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in the state of Michigan. Ms. Duffy received her BA in Psychology and Spanish and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Oakland University. She received her Juris Doctor from Michigan State University College of Law and graduated Magna Cum Laude.

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