"Asking for a Friend"

“They” are currently married but do not live together. “She” has the three sons, ages 23.5, 19.5 and 15. She is in the house they all lived in together that is rented. The Landlord has given them a date for which to be out of the house by, for one reason or the other. She (a person of questionable character) has been looking for a place to move. Long story short. Instead of “renting”, she wants to buy a house, even though she and the husband are physically separated and expected to divorce. Most houses are high rent compared to mortgage payments. The credit history is shaky, with a history of evictions and judgments. So? Not a slam dunk that a purchase will happen. With a divorce in the future, how will the house purchase effect the outcome of the divorce? If the husband acquires it in his name to allow the wife and three sons to live there, what will a divorce require of the house ownership since NC is a community property state?

The newly purchased house would still be marital property if purchased with marital funds and titled in Husband’s name. It would still need to be divided in an equitable distribution case and Wife would still have a claim to it (until dealt with in an equitable distribution claim). It is possible that Husband could purchase the home and Wife could rent it from Husband, or otherwise be a “tenant” of Husband. It would be a good idea to have these terms included in a separation agreement or equitable distribution court order.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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