If I owned land prior to my marriage and built a home on it after I was married, can I get credit for the property in the divorce settlement?

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If I owned land prior to my marriage and built a home on it after I was married, can I get credit for the property in the divorce settlement?

Spouse is co-signer on the mortgage.

Asked on May 24, 2011 under Family Law, South Carolina

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This is a complicated accounting and depending on if your state follows equitable distribution or community property, the outcome could be different. Your land was your own and let's assume you payed for the taxes and upkeep on the land with your own separate income prior to marriage. Let's all say this land was leased to anyone wherein the proceeds from the rental went right back into the expenses of the land. Now, you get married and you and your spouse decide to build a home. Clearly, the home is a marital asset but if the court determines that home was considered an improvement to the existing land, then you may need to a very complicated accounting (CPA attorneys who practice family law are the best for this) to ensure your overall accounting is appropriate. So the short answer is probably. If your spouse is a co-signer, then your spouse's and your contributions to the mortgage and taxes and home improvement will be taken into consideration, including your separate incomes.


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