In a divorce what rights does your spouse have to property that you co-own with someone else?

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In a divorce what rights does your spouse have to property that you co-own with someone else?

I’ve been married for 8 years. About 4 four years ago my father and I purchased a home as joint tenants with survivorship rights. Now I am getting divorced. Does my wife have any rights to this property?

 

Asked on March 14, 2011 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you wife may have some rights to that property. Your interest in the property is something to which she may be entitled some share or portion, since that it property acquired during marriage. In essence, to grossly oversimplify, if you had bought property yourself, you wife could assert an interest in it and might be able to claim half of it; in the case you describe, if we assume that you "own" half the property (you are one of two  people with equal interests in it), your wife may be able to assert an interest in half of your half. Again, that's a gross oversimplication, but as a general, most things acquired by a spouse during marriage are things that the other spouse could assert an interest in during a divorse. Since the specific circumstances (e.g. what money was used to buy the property?--money from a joint account earned by both of you? Money you earned? Money she earned? Money you inherited? The proceeds of selling some asset you had pre-marriage? Etc.) are very important in determing whether and to what extent she can assert a right, you should discuss this with your divorce attorney to see what claim or rights your wife may have.


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