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What Rights Does a Man Have to the House During a Divorce?

Quite often, a divorced man doesn’t just lose his marriage, he loses his home as well. State laws vary and each divorce case is unique in the eyes of the court. The circumstances surrounding the divorce play a part in deciding what is done with the assets of the marriage. Even if the man loses the right to live in the home, he may still be entitled to a part of the equity including properties that were purchased by his wife before the marriage. Here are the frequently asked questions when man and wife decide to go their separate ways and get a divorce.

What is marital property?

All property obtained during the course of the marriage by either the husband or the wife is considered to be shared in common by both spouses regardless of whether the state you were married in is an equitable distribution or a property earned state. The amount of money that the man spends on a property during the time of the marriage will determine how much, if any, of the home equity he is entitled to even if the property is in his wife’s name and not his. The only exception to the rule would be if the wife purchased the property using the proceeds that she acquired before the marriage.

What if the wife owned property before the marriage?

Even in a situation where the wife had property before the date of the marriage, the husband may still have a share of the equity if mortgage payments or home improvements were funded by money earned during the marriage. Many states will provide the husband with ½ of the increased value of the home in these situations but again this depends on which state you are in.

Who gets to stay in the home?

The circumstances surrounding the divorce have much to do with this decision. If the home belonged to your wife before the marriage, most likely she will be allowed to continue living in it. If you are the one who left your wife, or if she left you as the result of a protective order against you or some form of bad behavior on your part, it is most likely that you will lose possession of the house. In addition, you may even be required to make the mortgage payments even though it is no longer your place of residence.

How do I get my share of the homes equity?

Remember, regardless of who has temporary possession of the home, sooner or later the equity will need to be distributed per the courts instructions. This could mean that either the husband or the wife will need to buy out the share of their spouse or the property will need to be sold in order for each to receive their portion of the cash. Sometimes in a buyout situation, other marital property or debt can be used instead of actual cash in order to meet the requirements of the divorce agreement.

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