Question #61: I have been married since September 2000 and live in New York. No children. My husband and I are thinking of separating due to the fact that we just cannot get along. I have owned a house since 1990 and the deed and mortgage is in my name only. I also have my elderly parents living with me and help support them at times. My question is, will my husband be entitled to half of the house? He is telling me that I am not entitled to any of his pension because we would have to be married at least seven years. Also, I took out an equity loan to pay for our furniture and payoff his credit card bills. I did have him sign an agreement that he would pay me back if we divorced. But he is saying that he is entitled to half the money in the savings account. The loan and the savings account are in my name only. Please advise. Thank you.

If the house was your property prior to the marriage and remained in your name after the marriage , it is individual property and not marital property and thus it belongs to you alone. You would be entitled to approximately one half of his pension earned during the marriage. He would be entitled to one half the money in the savings account which was earned during the course of the marriage. If you are living in NYC, please call me at 212-370-1660 to discussmediating the Divorce. I can help.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq. / Divorce Solutions

Question #59: My state of residence is NY. After many years of living apart have finally taken the steps and have a legal separation with the goal of the divorce being finalized at the end of the year. My question is, I would like to purchase a new home joint with another person. Since I am only in the separation stage my partner fears that if something should happen to me, my “almost ex-spouse” would have claims on this home. Is this true? If so what other options are there besides waiting until the divorce is final.Thank you

If you have a legal separation you should review the terms of the separation carefully. Generally, the acquisition of property by each party is expressly discussed and usually provides that the other party will not have claim to such property. Did you have an attorney prepare the separation agreement? Consult him/her to be sure. If no such provision is included in your separation agreement, you may wish to consider having another relative such as your mother become the acquiring partner until your divorce is final. If you are located in the NYC metropolitan area, give me a call at 212-370-1660 to discuss properly documenting your divorce so such issues are taken cared of before they arise.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #58: After one year of marriage, my wife committed adultery and wants a divorce. We have no children. We own a house together that has no equity in it as I used a VA loan with no-money down. I understand that she has no sufficient grounds for divorce.We are selling the house, and as it turns out it will be a fairly hefty profit. Since I believe that her contribution to the marriage was minimal, being that she only paid her half of the mortgage, and I paid all other bills, and substantial home improvement costs, is there any advantage to delaying the separation agreement until after the sale of the house. Certainly she’s entitled to some money, but I really don’t want to give her half of the profit. It doesn’t seem very equitable to me. What should I do?

You did not indicate what state you were located in. In New York,which is an “equitable distribution” state, assuming you acquired the house after your marriage, your spouse would be entitled to half the net profits from the sale. You may, however, be entitled to compensation for your separate contribution of home improvement costs and other moneys invested by you in the equity of the house. I strongly suggest you consider divorce mediation to resolve these and other matters outstanding (e.g. spousal support, division of other marital assets such as retirement accounts, etc.). If you are located in the New York City metropolitan area, please call me at 212-370-1660 to discuss further.
Leonard M. Weiner, Esq./Divorce Solutions

Question #53: My husband has a piece of real estate which I have asked them to deed over to me to secure the payment of any settlement arrangement, but he has refused. What can I do?

You do not need your husband to deed the property to you to secure payment. You have asked them to transfer the property to you when in fact you really need a security interest in the property, not ownership of the property. What you should have requested from him is a first mortgage on the property as security for the payment of the settlement arrangement. From the type of question you are asking it seems that you have not begun an adversarial court process yet. I believe that mediation could be very helpful in your situation and I strongly recommend that you contact an attorney-mediator in your area.