If I’ve owned my home for 20 years in a community property state and just got married, how will the home be divided in the event of a divorce?

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If I’ve owned my home for 20 years in a community property state and just got married, how will the home be divided in the event of a divorce?

In order to protect my 20 years of ownership, should I get my home valued now by an expert so in case of divorce I have record of what husband has contributed from time of marriage until the divorce?

Asked on January 27, 2016 under Family Law, California

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Community property is property, income and debt acquired during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.
Separate property is property, income and debt acquired prior to marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.
The house is your separate property and your husband has no claim to the house except that if improvements are made to the house during marriage and those improvements are made from community property funds (earnings during marriage), the value of those improvements (enhanced value of the home) is community property and your husband would have a claim to half the value of those improvements.
If the value of the improvements to the house during marriage is made from both separate property funds (your income before marriage) and community property funds (your income and/or your husband's income during marriage), your husband would have a proportionate share of the enhanced value of the home to claim as community property.
Therefore, it is advisable to have the home appraised at this time so that you can determine in the event of divorce the value of any improvements made during marriage from community property funds in the event of a community property claim by your husband.


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