If my wife bought a house before we married and it’s all in her name but she just up and left me, what happens to the house?

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If my wife bought a house before we married and it’s all in her name but she just up and left me, what happens to the house?

There are no children and she says she wants a divorce but I am a Christian man and uphold the word of God which says divorce is only acceptable on grounds of adultry, neither of which we have done.

Asked on July 4, 2012 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Community property is property acquired during marriage.  Community property also includes income during marriage.  Each spouse has a one half interest in the community property.

Separate property is property acquired before marriage or after the marriage ends.  Separate property also includes income before marriage or after the marriage ends.  A spouse has no claim to the other spouse's separate property.

Since your wife purchased the house before marriage it is her separate property, and you would not have a claim to the house.  However, if mortgage payments were made during marriage from income during marriage, those mortgage payments are community property and you would have a one half interest in that portion of the mortgage payments paid during marriage.  If improvements were made during marriage from income during marriage, those improvements resulting in the enhanced value of the house are community property and you would have a one half interest in the value of those improvements.  If the mortgage payments and/or the improvements to the house were made from your wife's pre-marriage income, the mortgage payments and/or the improvements are separate property and you would not have any claim to those payments and/or improvements because they are your wife's separate property.


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