If my wife and I have split up but have not received an order of separation or divorce decree, what are my rights if she buys a house?

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If my wife and I have split up but have not received an order of separation or divorce decree, what are my rights if she buys a house?

Please explain the potential impact of this purchase. Can she close on a house by herself? Would I still be legally bound to it? Do they ask “are you married” during a closing? Is it a case of “1 to buy, 2 to sell”? 

Asked on June 14, 2011 under Family Law, Minnesota

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

So what you are saying is that you have physically split up but there are no legal documents filed at all?  Then there is not a date certain that someone - like the judge - to look at and say that the marriage has ended and the assets from here on out are separate and not marital, correct?  If you are not applying for the mortgage or signing any mortgage document or going to take title to the house by being on the deed I think that your wife has a lot to lose here and you are in the better position in the matter.  Income earned during a marriage is marital income.  Assets acquired during a marriage are presumed marital regardless of how the title is held.  So you would have a claim and she would have to prove that it was separate property if there are no other documents in place.  Seek some legal help n your area.  Good luck.


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