My husband and I divorced after 17 years of marriage. He bought our dwelling at a big revenue. Am I entitled to my share?

Dear Quentin,

My husband and I have been married for 17 years. We divorced 5 years in the past. While we have been married we had a house constructed, and we lived within the dwelling till we separated.

When we purchased the home, we have been suggested to solely put my husband’s identify on the mortgage, as a result of I had already bought a house years earlier than. My identify was added to the deed.

The dwelling was not talked about within the divorce decree. My ex-husband bought the house this yr, and made a big revenue. Am I entitled to any portion of the revenue and if that’s the case, how do I get it?


“Anything you buy during your marriage — including a house — is regarded as marital property in most states, even if it’s only titled in one spouse’s name.”

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Dear Ex-Wife,

Something ain’t proper.

I’m curious to know who “advised” you to not put your identify on the house that was bought throughout your marriage? Your husband’s lawyer? If so, he was representing your husband’s pursuits — not yours. Your personal authorized counsel? That appears unlikely. Did you signal a prenuptial or postnuptial settlement giving up all rights to this dwelling? Did you agree that your husband would alone pay the mortgage? He can’t promote a house with out your signature, in case your identify was — in truth — on the deed.

If your husband walked away out of your marriage, and took the marital dwelling with him, and advised you that your identify was on the deed and never on the mortgage, it’s best to personal 50% of the property. If he put your identify on the mortgage and never on the deed — the other to what you imagine you signed if you purchased this home and, actually, sounds extra doubtless given his subsequent actions — it’s best to nonetheless personal a share of this dwelling upon your divorce. It was purchased throughout your marriage, and needs to be handled as group/marital property.

Stress and trauma can have an effect on our choice making, and when folks undergo main life occasions like divorce and dying, they’re weak to being taken benefit of. Rushing a divorce with out satisfactory authorized recommendation, not figuring out what you might be signing, and erroneously valuing and characterizing marital property are all a threat. Some individuals are so determined to get out of an unhealthy marriage, they’re ready to stroll away from property to which they’re entitled, whereas others keep in unhealthy marriages for monetary causes. Neither possibility is good.

Your letter suggests that you simply both didn’t know what you have been signing — by way of the deed and mortgage paperwork and divorce papers — and/otherwise you didn’t have satisfactory authorized counsel. I can’t think about a divorce lawyer value their salt standing by whereas your husband walked away with a household dwelling that was bought throughout your marriage. There isn’t any point out of a prenuptial settlement. It appears unfathomable to me that this occurred. There are clearly lots of unknowns in your story, however crucial reality is when this dwelling was bought.

Anything you purchase throughout your marriage — together with a home — is considered marital property in most states, even when it’s solely titled in a single partner’s identify. Gifts and inheritance, and property listed in a prenuptial settlement as separate, are non-marital property. Before getting married, it’s essential to debate monetary targets, duties and, as you’ve found, possession of property. In a community-property state, property acquired throughout the marriage are normally divided equally. In an equitable-distribution state, property are divided pretty, if not at all times evenly.

The different elephant within the room is the statute of limitations, which varies by state. In California, for example, the statute of limitations is three years. “The statute of limitations to reopen a divorce settlement agreement is three years,” in line with Boyd Law, which relies in Los Angeles, Calif. “Once that time period has passed, you can no longer re-visit the division of assets agreed to in the settlement. The divorce settlement agreement is a binding contract for the dissolution of the marriage and cannot be broken or re-opened to contest once the statute of limitations passes.”

So earlier than you enable any extra time to move, search out contemporary authorized recommendation. Your future self could thanks for taking motion now quite than later.

You can e-mail The Moneyist with any monetary and moral questions at, and observe Quentin Fottrell on X, the platform previously often known as Twitter.

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Previous columns by Quentin Fottrell:

‘I’ve been dwelling inside a silent divorce’: I need a ‘kitchen-table’ separation from my husband with out attorneys. Is that a good suggestion?

‘I cashed in my retirement account to buy our home’: My husband left me and our two children and received’t pay the mortgage. What now?

My spouse and I purchased a good looking lakeside dwelling for $700,000. It’s now value $1.2 million. Do we promote now to keep away from capital beneficial properties?

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