When can a wife claim a houseto be hers as well as her spouse’s?

A house was bought 2 years ago and an $8000 tax credit is taken. The husband’s name is on the house settlement not the wife’s  The husband is thinking of selling the house next year although the wife does not want him to do so. Can she do anything that can prevent him from doing it? Does she also have the right to claim the house as her property? A notice to the husband and the wife has been received separately from IRS regarding the tax credit and rules. Does that imply that the wife also owns the house?

Asked on October 22, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Although legal title to the property was placed solely in the name of the husband and not the wife, under Virginia's laws concerning marriages, the wife most likely has a legal interest in the home assuming marital funds were used to acquire the property and/or marital funds were used to service the property's expenses.

Most likely the wife will have to sign a quit claim deed to her husband as a means of having any sale of the property to go through. If she refuses to sign documents required of her to sign to have the sale of the property go through, then there is a very good chance of the property's sale not going through.

I recommend that the wife consult with a real estate attorney regarding your question.

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