If my wife will not add my name on deed of house, what can I do?

We have been married for 26 years. When I moved in with my wife, she had a 15 year mortgage that was halfway paid for; we paid it off. We have a joint checking and savings account, and for the past 26 years my earnings have always been more than hers. Yet, she refuses to add me because she feels that I will not leave anything to her kids if something happens to me.

Asked on July 24, 2018 under Family Law, Indiana


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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that one spouse cannot compel the other spouse to add their name to a house (or any other priperty) that is held solley in theor name alone. Further, since she owned the house prior to your marriage it is technically her seperate property. That having been said, since you contributed to the payment of the mortgage and presumably to the repair and maintenance of the property, as well as any improvements that may have been made, then if you should ever divorce you might have a right to a share of the difference between the property's value at the time you married and its value at the time you divorce.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You can't do anything: there is no law requiring a spouse to add her spouse to the deed of a home she owned prior to marriage (which is what your question indicates, if we understand the timeline correctly). Any home she owned pre-marriage is her own "separate" property and she has no obligation to give you any interest in it.

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