If I have not seen my wife in 21 years and I bought my house 3 years ago, does she have any rights to my house in a divorce?

I was married to my wife 19 years ago; we stayed together for 4 years and then separated.

Asked on July 21, 2018 under Family Law, Virginia


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Since you purchased the home while you were (and still) are married, your estranaged wife would in fact have rights to it. Unless you have a legal separation agreement that covers this situation, you have no protection here from any claim that she may make against the house.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

She would have rights to the home, because you purchased the home while still married. Separated is not divorced: separation does not fully cut off spousal or marital rights, including the rights to or interest in property or other assets acquired during marriage.

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