If I owned property prior to marriage such as house and marry and divorce, would my husband then can take half ownership of my house?

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If I owned property prior to marriage such as house and marry and divorce, would my husband then can take half ownership of my house?

I don’t have a pre-nuptial agreement.

Asked on December 2, 2015 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Separate property is property acquired before marriage.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.
Community property is property acquired during marriage.  A spouse has a one half interest in the community property.
Since you owned the house prior to marriage, it is your separate property and your spouse has no claim to the house.  However, if improvements were made to the house from income earned during marriage, that income is community property and the enhanced value of the house from those improvements is community property.  Therefore, your spouse would have a one half interest in the value of those improvements made during marriage to the house.
If improvements made to the house during marriage were made from your income earned prior to marriage, that income is separate property and the increased value of the home from those improvements is separate property.  Therefore, your spouse has no claim to the enhanced value of the home resulting from improvements that were made with  separate property funds.
If the improvments to the home were made with both income earned before marriage (separate property) and income earned during marriage (community property), your spouse has a proportional interest in the value of those improvements (one half the value of the improvements made from community property funds).  If the improvements to the home during marriage are made from both community property and separate property income and it cannot be determined the amount that represents separate property and community property income, the entire amount of the improvements is presumed to be community property and your spouse has a one half interest in the value of those improvements to the home. 


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