Do I need to share an insurance payout on my house with my estranged husband if he moved out 12 years ago?

My husband and I separated 12 years ago; he left to live elsewhere. No agreement was ever made but I assumed that I got the house, while he got the money. He does give me $500 a month to live on since I have always been a housewife and never had a career. He pays the house insurance but it is in my name. The house has now burned down and he wants 40% of the payout. Is that fair? Should I push back?

Asked on December 3, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If he is still on the home's title or deed, then he is still an owner. That means, that if there was no agreement between the two of you to the contrary, he is entitled to 50% of the proceeds (when there are two owners, and no agreement to the contrary about who gets how much, each gets 1/2 of proceeds). If the house is solely in your name, you don't have to give him any money so long as the two of you are still married (even if estranged), though if/when you and he ever do divorce, he may be able to, in the divorce, get a share of the proceeds if the house was acquired during marriage or if he contributed to its mortgage, taxes, maintenance, etc.

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