If my wife wants out of our marriage and she kicked me out of the house which is in her name and which was bought before we married, what rights do I have?

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If my wife wants out of our marriage and she kicked me out of the house which is in her name and which was bought before we married, what rights do I have?

We have children and have been married for 19 years.

Asked on February 9, 2017 under Family Law, Iowa

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

First of all, until there is a formal separation agreement in effect or a final decree of divorce which addresses which one of you gets sole possession of the house, you both have the right to reside in it since, in the eyes of the law, it is still considered to be the "joint marital residence". This is true no matter whose name is on the deed. As for what happens after the divorce, since the house was purchased before your marriage and is still solely in your wife's name, it will remain her separate property. This means that you have no ownership rights to it. That having been said, you may have a claim for any economic contribution (i.e. money or "sweat equity") if improvements were made to the house during your marriage and which increased its value of the home (such as adding a room, etc.). As a general rule, you will not be entitled ant of the equity gained. At this point, you may want to consult directly with a local divorce attorney.


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