Who is entitled to the house in a divorce?

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Who is entitled to the house in a divorce?

Before my mother passed away she transferred the deed of her house into my name. My wife and I have lived here the entire year we were married. We are now getting a divorce. Is she entitled to the house, and if not, when can the locks be changed to protect my things? Is there anyway to get an order where she only comes to the house when I’m here?

Asked on May 1, 2011 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Although CA is a community property state, inheritances and gifts are deemed to be the separate property of the spouse who receives it. So in your divorce, the house will not be included as an asset of the community. However, until your divorce is final or until you have a legal separation agreement that addresses this issue specifically, your spouse is entitled to remain in the marital residence (even if she has moved out, she still has the legal right to move back in).  This is true regardless of whose name title to the house is in.  Therefore do not attempt to change the locks or remove her belongings.  This can have both civil and criminal penalties. If she does any damage to your things, you can hold her liable for their replacement value.


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