Marital home or not?


#1

Before my STBX and I got married, she bought a house in GA. When she bought it, we both moved into it and got married 8 months later.
We lived in the home for 6 years and then moved to NC. The house in GA didn’t sell and so it became a rental. The GA home has lost value due to the markets, but before we moved to NC, we put approx 25K into the GA house to get it ready to sell/rent. After moving to NC, the house flooded in the 2008 floods in Atlanta, and we put another 15K to repair it again.
Is that home considered a marital asset? I don’t think it is; she bought it in her name and even refinanced it in her name only when I asked her to add my name to mortgage to make it “our” home in 2005. And, if it isn’t a marital asset, can I then claim rights to any marital funds we used to fix and repair the home, when at the time, it did indeed maintain and increase the value of the home.
Thanks.


#2

The home is your wife’s separate property, but there is a large marital component, in that all funds put in the home since the date of marriage which increase the value of the home, make that portion of the equity martial in nature.


#3

Hi Erin and thank you again.

So any equity built into the home by us both paying together is split. And correct me if I am wrong, any marital money that was put into the house for upkeep to maintain and to actively increase the value of the home is split as well?
Is the passive decrease in market value split if the home has lost value? In my understanding it is not as it is her separate property. Thanks yet again.


#4

Yes, any active increase in value is martial in nature, and should be split. Any passive decrease will also be accounted for as marital.


#5

Hi Erin, and I apologize for all the follow up questions but obviously this is a complicated subject.

In the case here, where it is her separate property, would I then be responsible for a passive decrease in market value?

Also, In regards to the large amounts of marital funds used to fix up the home in 2007 and 2008, do I have a separate claim on that as it was used to maintain and actively increase the property value at the time the repairs were made? We put approx 35-40K into the overall repairs.

She believes that I am responsible for half the value depreciation when it is her separate property. And, that I have no claim on marital funds used to fix the house.

Thanks again.


#6

The value is part separate and part marital. Any passive loss occurring on the home during the marriage will have to be factored in to what the total marital value is. The money put into the home presumably increased the value, that increase (less any market decrease since then) is what is divisible.


#7

But post separation the payments, costs and depreciation falls on her as it is her separate property again?


#8

Yes.


#9

UPDATE:
When the home in GA was purchased, it was worth 169K. At the time of separation, the home’s tax assessed value was 153K (which, per a separate “home value vs. tax valuation” wesite, was the market value of the home) and the amount owed on the home was roughly 145K.
A year later, the markets have continued to do poorly. The amount owed on the home is now 140K and a recent apprasial of the home put it at 145K (with notes for the appraiser that the home wouldnt sell for that amount right now given the markets???).
So, with all of that, how does a court determine deprecation? Do they start with the purchase price vs. current value?? Or do they used amount owed at time of separation vs. market value at the time of separation?
This is the one issue my STX and I havent resolved;how (using what numbers) is the depreciation it actually determined?


#10

The court can look at all the evidence presented to determine the depreciation (appraisals, tax values, market assessments, ect). Ultimately the judge looks at all the facts and makes a determination based on his or her perception of those facts.