Does real estate have to be split equally in a divorce?

My wife asked me to add her name on the deed for my house 4 years ago. Now I realize she was planning a divorce back then. Now she wants half the value of the house in the divorce. Do I have to split the house value with her?

Asked on September 22, 2011 under Family Law, Maryland


MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Here is the deal; in every state there are marital distribution laws and asset distribution laws in situations of divorce. In California, for example, all property and debt acquired after marriage and prior to separation is considered community property. This means everything is generally half and half. In many other states, it is equitable distribution. This means the court would equitably divide property, and it is up to the claimants to show how it should be equitably or inequitably divided. Maryland is an equitable distribution state. If your wife asked you to sign her to the deed four years ago and you did, you would need to show that a) she made no contribution to the expenses and upkeep of the home and b) that this was a basic fraudulent move on her part because 4 years ago she intended to divorce you. I don't believe the court will buy into it and further, she will be equitably entitled to a portion of your home (it is just the percentage that the court will decided).

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