Q: In 1986, my husband and I bought a home. After 32 years of marriage we have separated.
When my husband wanted to refinance again the property last year before our separation, I didn’t want him to do it. So, I told him that I would only refinance if he quit claimed the property to me. Mind you he was having some financial problems and really needed this refinance the loan to get a lower rate.
Months later, he moved out and I went to record the deed. We might reconcile in the future. But my question is whether the property is legally mine? And if we divorce, would he have any rights to the house?
A: For all practical purposes, once the quit claim deed was filed the home became yours. But just because the home is yours doesn’t mean that your husband may not have certain rights to the home. In a divorce, the court will have discretion in determining which assets should be considered joint assets and which should be considered assets of only one spouse.
If you had inherited property from a parent and kept that property separate from your other assets, generally that type of an asset will be excluded from the marriage and at the time assets are spit up, the inherited assets would be excluded.
Certainly there are many scenarios and different things can and do happen. In your case, you and your husband bought a home 20 years ago and it is now yours, but in a divorce, the judge may consider the home as part of the assets in the marriage. Your husband does not live in the home and transferred title to you, but in deciding what money and property you should keep and what money and property your husband should keep, the home may be a factor.
After 32 years, it would be great if you and your husband could work things out. For more details on assets in a divorce, talk to an attorney.
Aug. 9, 2006.