FINANCIAL ISSUES - MARITAL PROPERTY V. SEPARATE PROPERTY
My fiance and I reside in NYS. My name is NOT currently on the deed...he bought the home before we met (though I am paying a portion of the mortgage). We're getting married next year, for some reason we get a divorce, do I automatically get 1/2 the house because we were married or does my name HAVE to be on the deed? He and I recently had this discussion and I thought according to NYS law that as a married couple 1/2 is yours when it came to divorce...please let me know. He is however planning on adding my name to the deed. We also aren't planning on divorce but it's good to know the details prior to walking down the aisle!
You are absolutely right! It's important for you to know the details prior to walking down the aisle. It's also important for you both to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement where you would spell out your exact relationship since you are concerned about the financial ramifications in the event of separation or divorce. Since your husband purchased the property prior to your marriage and his name is presently the only name on the deed, it would not be considered marital property in the event of divorce, and you would have no interest in it. If you wish to have an interest in such property, you should have your name added to the deed. Only if the property had been purchased during the course of the marriage with funds that were earned by one or both of the parties would it become a marital asset and thus be divided generally 50-50.
If you are located in the New York City metropolitan area, I strongly suggest that you contact me to discuss preparing a prenuptial agreement where you would spell out all of the different issues and ramifications in the event of separation or divorce. It's like having an insurance policy-no one expects to die when they take out life insurance, but in a country were approximately 50 percent of all marriages and in divorce, it's prudent to know that you have provided for such an event and you will not be left penniless.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions