As of two weeks ago my husband of 8 years said our marriage was over. Unfortunately, I think I know the answer to this but I’m hoping for a miracle. I owned a home for 11 years that was solely in my name. When I married, I sold my home so my husband and I could buy a home. I had $80,000.00 in equity from the sell of my home. These funds were used to pay off credit card debt that we each had separately coming into the marriage, pay off my car loan that I had before the marriage, pay off his car loan that he had before the marriage, buy new furniture for the new home and put down money on the new home. He contributed no money to the purchase of the home.The mortgage and deed to the new house is in both of our names. Is he entitled to half of what little equity is in the new house because it’s in both of our names? I want to keep the home, I can afford to keep it, he cannot afford to keep it. How does the fact that my funds paid off his credit card debt and car loan play into the picture? I could use the fact that what I paid off for him would be equal to what may be half of the equity in the home as a bargaining tool and see if that would fly. I just don’t know what to do. I want to keep the home to continue to build equity for my future. Thank you for your help.
The law presumes that contributions of separate property to the marital residence are presumed to be a gift to the marriage, so your husband is entitled to half of the equity in the home. Your payment of his debt will also be considered a gift to the marriage. Given the large amount of separate property you invested in the marital estate, you can, and should argue that you should receive more than the typical 50% share of the martial estate. Equitable distribution is presumed to be equitable when the property is split evenly, however in cases like this, it would only seem fair an equitable that you receive back more than half based on the fact that you alone seem to have contributed 100% to the marital estate.