If my wife bought a home while married to me in her name only, is it our home or just hers?

Asked on June 25, 2012 under Family Law, Illinois


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.

If your wife used community property income (income during marriage) to pay for the home, the home is community property and you have a one half interest in the community property.

If your wife purchased the home in her name with income earned before marriage, the income before marriage is her separate property and the home would be her separate property.  If it is her separate property, you would not have a claim to the house.

If your wife used both income before marriage (separate property) and income during marriage (community property) to purchase the home, you would have a proportionate interest in the home based on how much of the home was paid for with community property funds.

If mortage payments are being made on the home during marriage from income during marriage, those mortgage payments are being paid with community property funds and you would have a half interest in the amount of those mortgage payments paid with community property funds. 

If improvements are made to the home during marriage and those improvements are paid with community property funds, you would have a one half interest in the value of the improvements made to the home from community property funds.

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

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