If I have been married a short time and have owned my house for 12 years, does my husband have any legal right to it?

Asked on May 19, 2012 under Family Law, Colorado

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

If you live in a community property state, community property is property acquired during marriage.  Community property also includes income during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  Separate property also includes income before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.

Since you purchased the house before marriage, it is your separate property and your spouse has no claim to the house.  However, if you are paying the mortgage from income earned during marriage, that income is community property and your spouse would have a claim to one half of the mortgage payments made from community property.  If you are paying the mortgage on the house from income before marriage, that income is your separate property and your spouse has no claim to your separate property.  If improvements are made to the house during marriage and the improvements are made from community property funds (income during marriage), your spouse would have a claim for one half the value of the improvements made from coummunity property funds.  If improvements to the house resulted in the enhanced value of the house and those improvements were made from community property funds, your spouse would have a claim for the half the enhanced value of the house resulting from community property funds.  If improvements to the house are made from your separate property funds (income before your marriage), then the improvements are separate property and your spouse has no claim to the enhanced value of the home resulting from the improvements.  If improvements are made to the house from both community and separate property funds, your husband would have a proportionate interest based on half the value of that portion of the improvements made from community property funds.

If you don't live in a community property state, other rules may be applicable.


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