Question #285:My husband owned the home prior to our marriage, it is in his name only. I have contributed money to renovations and monthly mortgage and bills. We have been married 2 years and have a 9 month old baby and I have 2 boys from a prior marriage. Can he force me and the kids to move out or do I have the right to buy him out and keep the children in the home? Thank you.

If the house belonged to your spouse before the marriage and the title was kept in his name only, it is separate property belonging to him and you have no ownership interest in it. If you contributed to the renovations and mortgage, however, you do have a claim to be reimbursed for your expenditures. You do not have a right to buy him out, but if you are unable to find a suitable, alternative place to live with the children, the court would likely allow you to remain until you find such a place. If he has been supporting you and the children, he will have to continue to do so, including helping you pay for the rent of any new place or allow you to remain in the house until the children are emancipated (e.g.21 years old).

If you are contemplating divorce and are located in the NYC metro area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for a meeting to discuss mediating your divorce.

Leonard Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #249:I am from the West Indies and I married my wife 13 years ago at City Hall in order for her to get her residency (green card) in New York City. Before we got married I had properties that belonged to me and is still in my name alone. We both tried to see if the marriage would work but it did not. After a while she refuses to have sex with me every time I would initiate having sex she would push me away. After living together for 5 years I moved out because it was getting to my head and I started feeling less of a man. There are no children involved. I tried to talk to her about a divorce on the grounds of no sex or abandonment and she refused to sign. It is now 8 years since we have separated. Please let me know if I will have to share my properties with her seeing that I had them before we were married and how hard would it before me to get my divorce.

If you owned the properties prior to the marriage and kept the properties in your name, the properties would be separate property and not marital property and your wife would not be entitled to any portion of the properties. If you contributed monies earned during the marriage to pay the mortgages on such properties or to make capital improvements, she may have a claim to ½ of the monies contributed, but not a proprietary interest in such properties.
Under the newly enacted “no fault” statute recently approved by the New York State senate and house of representatives and signed by the governor, if you have been separated for six months or more you will not have to prove any additional grounds to warrant a divorce. You will however, have to resolve questions of spousal support and division of marital assets.
If you’re living in the New York City metropolitan area, I urge you to call me at 212-370-1660 to arrange for an appointment for the three of us to meet to discuss mediating your divorce.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./ Divorce Solutions

Question #146:I am getting married and I have a house that I bought being married to another man. Would my prospective husband have a right to acquire my property in case of divorce? thank you.

If you acquired the property prior to the marriage, kept the property in your name only, and did not co-mingle the property in some other way, the property remains separate property and not marital property and your prospective husband will not have a claim to it. If he contributes to the upkeep of the property and to the mortgage, however, he may have a claim for some form of reimbursement for what he contributed, but he will not have an equity interest in the property.

Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solution

Question #71: I live in Upstate NY. I am getting a divorce after 5 yrs. of marriage. We have no children together. Is my wife entitled to 1/2 of the house that we live in even though I owned it before we were married and her name is not on the mortgage ? We have agreed to some terms to legally separate but she will not sign a paper written by my lawyer unless she can be present when I meet with him. My lawyer says that it is a conflict of interest to represent both parties even if we agree on terms.

If you owned the property prior to the marriage and kept it in your name only the property is separate property, not marital property and she is not entitled to one half. If you used marital funds (i.e. funds earned during the course of the marriage) to pay the mortgage and upkeep, she may have a monetary claim to one half of suchpayments, but she does not have an equity interest in the property. Your wife is right. She should be represented by counsel before she agrees to anything. It is also in your best interest that she have counsel so that she cannot come back later to the court and claim she was unrepresented any did not know what she was doing. I strongly recommend you mediate rather than litigate your divorce.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #69: I’ve been married for 1 1/2 years. My husband wants a divorce, heisn’thappy. We bought a house before we got married. Both saved money and I put money that I received from a legal settlement. Am I legally entitled to that money?

The house is not marital property because it was purchased prior to the marriage but would be divided according to the percent in which you each invested in the house, including upkeep and improvements. Any money earned during the course of the marriage is marital property . Money earned from a personal injury claim is generally considered separate property and not marital unless it was paid for loss of earnings or the funds were subsequently comingled with marital funds in a joint account. I strongly recommend you mediate your divorce. Give me a call at 212-370-1660 to discuss the matter further.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #69: I’ve been married for 1 1/2 years. My husband wants a divorce, heisn’thappy. We bought a house before we got married. Both saved money and I put money that I received from a legal settlement. Am I legally entitled to that money?

The house is not marital property because it was purchased prior to the marriage but would be divided according to the percent in which you each invested in the house, including upkeep and improvements. Any money earned during the course of the marriage is marital property . Money earned from a personal injury claim is generally considered separate property and not marital unless it was paid for loss of earnings or the funds were subsequently comingled with marital funds in a joint account. I strongly recommend you mediate your divorce. Give me a call at 212-370-1660 to discuss the matter further.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #66: I have been married for just 3 years. My husband retained an attorney for a legal separation or whatever. He is not even sure himself. My question: We have a condo and the condo was purchased prior to our marriage and is in my name (deed and mortgage). A very minimal amount was put as a down payment and I can’t even give you a figure of his contribution to the downpayment, because it was so minimal. All costs were paid out of my personal checking account/savings. Is he entitled to any share of my home?

Property acquired prior to the marriage by one spouse and held in that spouse’s name is separate property, not marital property and your husband has no proprietary interest in it. He may have a monetary claim for part of the money he contributed to the upkeep or mortgage, or that was funded with marital property (e.g. wages you earned during the course of the marriage),but he has no equitable claim in the property itself.If you are located in the NYC metropolitan area, please call me to discuss this and many of the other questions you will have in separating.I can help!