Can my wife get half of the equity in our house if we divorce when she hasn’t put one penny into paying for it?

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Can my wife get half of the equity in our house if we divorce when she hasn’t put one penny into paying for it?

Our house appraised for $120 and I have a line of credit on it for $30,000. Her name is not on the line of credit. I only like 3 more months paying the house off. We are getting a divorce and I’m worried that she can get half of the remaining equity that is not tied up on the loan or if she can even get half of that amount also.

Asked on August 17, 2019 under Family Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

If the house was purchased during marriage, then it is a marital asset and she is entitled to a share of the value. If she worked and made a similar amount to you, a court can take note of the fact that despite her having her own income, you paid entirely for the house and give you a larger share of the equity. On the other hand, if she was a stay-at-home mother or homemaker, or worked part-time so she'd have time to take care of the children, so that her "job" was mother, homemaker, etc., then the court will likely not hold her lack of contribution against her: she was doing what you and she apparently agreed she'd do, after all. In that case, she'll likely get half the equity. Courts have the power to adjust or tailor the distribution to the facts of the case, to do "equity" (fairness) in light of those circumstances.


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