Abandonment by Wife

My wife has said she is planning on leaving our home because she does not want to be with me any longer. A few days ago we had gotten into a verbal argument in which I told her she had 30 days to move out, but after things had cooled down, I told her she could stay and that I was not forcing her out of the home. As I said, a few days have passed and she has said she is leaving the home to find somewhere else to stay and live. She has also said that she is entitled to the value of half the house and she expects this when she leaves. And she said if she doesn’t get it, she will take me to court and her son will testify that I told her she had 30 days to move out - but as I said I told her she was not being forced out and she could stay in the home - it was just when we were arguing when I said this to her.

My question is, if she decides to leave the home, is she entitled to anything at that point and what are my rights? I purchased the home solely in August 2012 and I was the only individual on the deed to that home. We were just married on December 15th, 2012 and about two weeks after we were married I added her to the deed. Is there are rights she would have to claim the home as hers if she were to leave on her own free will? Can she take me to court in order to try to take the home from me if she does leave? Does she have any ground to stand on because of what I said to her about moving out in 30 days? I also have it in writing where I told her she could stay and that I was not forcing her to move.

Just want to know what my rights are and what protections I should take if she moves out and then tries to turn around and take me to court for possession of the home. Also, if she were to move out on her own and live somewhere else, am I responsible to provide financial “assistance” to her? She has said she talked to a lawyer who said since I am keeping the house and she is moving on, I am responsible to assist her financially. We have only been married about 6 weeks and I want to know if this is true or not also.

Any assistance or information would be greatly appreciated.

Not an Attorney

Generally, it doesn’t matter who is on the deed or who’s name the mortgage is in. Once you are married, the marital home almost always becomes a marital asset and the value of the house and the debt on the house are usually split 50/50.

However, since your marriage was very short, you may be able to show that your down payment/cash outlay on the house represents the significant value of the house, since it is unlikely that the house appreciated/depreciated much in four months and you can account for four months of payments which are marital if you two were co-mingling funds.

She cannot ‘take’ the home from you, but it will be subject to property division settlement as stated above. Asking her to move out in 30 days would likely have no bearing on anything, especially if she is the one wanting the divorce.

That’s my uneducated guess after much reading, but I’ll be interested to hear what a real attorney’s take is on this situation. A shame you can’t get the marriage annulled after 6 weeks.

Not a Lawyer

Not a lawyer either, but I think a home aquired prior to the marriage, you would only have to divide any increase in value of the home from the date of marriage to the date of separation. One rub is adding her to the deed, which might be construed as “gifting” her a share of the home, but I’ll let a lawyer chime in on that.

The other posters here have some good ideas. There are a lot of arguments you need to explore about the house and the support issues. The court may deem any equity in the property as a gift to the marriage due to your execution of the deed following your wedding. Even though the duration of your marriage was short, you will have to handle the division of assets since the property is titled in both of your names now.

You haven’t said anything about incomes and whether she has the ability to support herself so I can’t answer the question about financial support. Again, due to the short life of the marriage, I find it difficult to believe a judge would order any significant support unless there were interesting circumstances of the case (for example, she quit her job and moved to NC to be with you).