If my wife is talking about getting a divorce after 6 years of marriage, how much of the house she is entitled to?

The house is in my name and I bought it before our marriage. It is totally paid off now and I made 100% of the payments. Our income is about the same.

Asked on September 3, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

Cameron Norris, Esq. / Law Office of Gary W. Norris

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Although the house itself was your separate property, since it was acquired before marriage, your wife is entitled to reimbursement-equal to a proportion of the current value-- for the principal debt reduction attributable to community property.  The way this is normally calcuated is by taking the principal debt reduction attributable to CP/ original purchase price.  Note: principal debt reduction is not the same as monthly payment--just the reduction in principal balance (not mortgage interest, property taxes, or insurance).  Then take that fraction or percentage and multiply it times the current value.  So if you paid down the original loan 20% during the marriage, then she is entiteld to 1/2 of that reduction (or 10%) times the current value.  Another example: 

Original Purchase Price: $400,000

Principal reduction over last 6 years during marriage: $20,000

20,000/400,000=5%  prinicpal reduction during marriage (half of which is attributable to her)

In this example, she would get 2.5% of the current Market value as a reimbursement.

Best of luck.


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