Do I have any recourse to claim damages in my son’s divorce?

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Do I have any recourse to claim damages in my son’s divorce?

My son got divorced last month. It was amicable. My husband and I spent $85,000 to build an add

on apartment. The wife got the house and we have no place to live. Do I have any claim to some compensation?

Asked on March 14, 2019 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

No, you do not have any recourse, unless you had a written agreement with your son's wife (or with your son and his wife) that stated that if you could not occupy the unit, she (or they) would repay you the construction cost. Unfortunately, paying money for your own benefit (i.e. for an add-on apartment to live in) does not give you the right to compensation without a written agreement; you cannot obligate people to reimburse you for costs unless they agree to. This was a risk you took, unfortunately, in spending money to add onto someone else's house; without some written agreement, there was always the chance the home would be sold (which they could have done without your consent, and you would have received no portion of the sale price), would have burned down (and you would be left homeless without any part of the homeowner's insurance proceeds), etc. Without an agreement, there was never any protection for you in case something happened to the home.


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