Question #120:I would like to know if my wife, is entitled to any profit on my house. Live in New York. I bought it in 1988. She moved in November 1995. Refinanced it in February 1998. I put her name on the deed, we were not married at the time. Since then I have paid $40,000 in mortgage payments. We got married in June 1999. We have been separated since July 2002. The refinance was to pay off a car that I owned prior to marriage. And to do some remodeling on the house. I owe more on the house now, than I did when she moved in. She put about $3000 in to something’s prior to marriage and about $500 to $1000 after marriage. Before she moved in I put about $25,000 of my own money into the house. And after about $15000.I bought it in a forecloser sale from a bank, I use to do work for. I do remodeling. And some of the thing’s she paid for was a deck, which she wanted, (materials only) that I built. My labor was worth more than the materials. Made a deal for her to put carpet in, and she could move in. So she could save money, by not having to pay any rent. And she saved a lot. I have paid 100% of the mortgage, and all utility. from day one. She has never paid anything on the house. Because she always knew it was my house. We also had agreed, that her money was hers, and mine was mine. We had separate accounts. I have agreed to give her a 1999 car. At the time of our separation, it had about $5,000.00 in equity in it. She wants me to give her $5,000 more, from the sale of my house. On top of the car. I’m thinking of selling my house and moving down south. Because my business is slow and my finances are not looking good, right now. What I’d like to know, can she get anything from the sale of my house. The car is the only thing we bought together, when we were married. I also found out that she had money in a savings account ( $3200). Which she told me she had no money, to make the car payment. Then she closed the account in April with ($2600) still in it. A day before I was served with divorce papers. On top of that she bought me a snow blower and lawnmower, as gifts. Then she sold them to her sister and her husband. I don’t want, nothing from her. I think giving her the car was enough for what she put in to the house. And I would be entitled to half of the car, which I’m willing to give up. Thank You

This case sounds like it is ripe for mediation, and should not be litigated. You’ll spend more money on attorneys’ fees and court costs than you’ll receive from the proceeds of the sale. If you are living in the New York City metropolitan area I strongly suggest that you call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss mediating this matter. Although your wife is a titled owner to the property, you have apparently invested much of your separate money in this house, and should be fully compensated for such investment before the net proceeds are divided equally.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions