Question: I bought my house 5 mos before I got married, now 18 years later I want to get a divorce, is my husband entitled to 1/2 of house -the house is payed for, and I am divorcing him because he is an alcoholic and spends all his money on drinking – I always bought everything that was needed for the house?
In a divorce, one of the more difficult areas for divorce attorneys may be determining the distribution of the parties’ assets. First it must be determined what assets are non-marital. Normally, if an asset is purchased prior to the marriage then it would be considered premarital property and the party who purchased it prior to the marriage will receive it, except as stated in Fla. Statute § 61.075 (6)(a)1.b.: “The enhancement in value and appreciation of non-marital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage or from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets, or both.”
In this case, the purchase of a house prior to marriage would make it non-marital, unless the value and appreciation of the house has resulted from either the contribution or expenditure of marital funds. For example, the payment of the mortgage from marital funds would mean that the increase in value due to the payments would be marital and subject to division in the divorce. Fla. Statute § 61.075(6)(a)1.a. defines marital assets and liabilities as those acquired or incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or the spouses jointly. So any income, assets that you acquired individually during the marriage are considered marital and likewise for your husband. Furthermore, if marital funds are used to enhance the value of the house, then the appreciated value would be subject to division. In addition, if the value of the property increases due to the efforts (i.e. physical) of either party during the marriage than that increase is subject to division. Note that it is only the appreciation of value which is subject to distribution. The remainder of the equity in the home would remain with the party who purchased the home prior to marriage.The court in determining distribution of marital assets and debts begins with the premise that they should be equally divided between the parties; however, the court also looks at the factors listed in Fla. Statute § 61.075(1) to determine if an unequal distribution is required. You say in your question that you have always bought everything that was needed for the house. Therefore, it is necessary to determine whether one of the factors in § 61.075(1) will apply under your circumstances, so that you may obtain a larger division of the marital assets. It would be beneficial to contact a knowledgeable divorce attorney who can help you get the best division of your assets considering all of the circumstances involved.Visit our website for more information on property and debt distribution in divorce.
By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+