Am I entitled to half the house in a divorce?

The house was originally owned by my wife and her ex. They divorced, but the house stayed in both names. I moved in with her about 12 years ago, and we got married 10 years ago. Five years ago we refinanced the house, but the title was put only in her name. I have paid the majority 90 of the mortgage payments for the past 10 years.

Asked on August 16, 2018 under Family Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

If the house had not been refinanced during your marriage, you would not have any right to or claim to it or its equity. But it was refinanced during marriage and you write that you have made the vast majority of the mortgage payments. Those factors should give you a claim to equity in the house in the event of divorce: during a divorce, the court doesn't look primarily to whose name a house is in, but rather to the reality of whether it was acquired (and refinancing, while not strictly "acquiring," in this case, by removing the ex from the title, did affect ownership) and the contribution(s) of the respective spouses.

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