Property Question

Edited to add- Ethically, I am in no way saying that I believe the place is half mine, there is no easy %, just looking for the legal explination. thank you.

I’m not an attorney, but I would initially take the position that the co-op share is marital property, since from what you’ve said, marital funds (or your separate funds) were used to renovate it for sale, thus converting it to marital property.

This will need an attorney or at least someone with real estate/divorce experience. My take on this is that the original $3500.00 that was paid in 10 years prior to the marriage is considered separate property. The market switch prior to separation and the marital money invested would lead me to think that anything above that would be marital asset. I don’t know how Co-Op’s work, but if this were a home (like any other) and if it was purchased prior and your name never put on it, it would be separate unless there was something stating it was given over as marital…I think…

You are correct that the question is somewhat complicated.

The answer is the property will have a marital and separate component to it. If your “sweat equity” in the property increased the value the increase in the value is marital property. For example, if the property was worth $40,000 before you started fixing it up and is now worth $65,000, then the increase is marital property. If your actions merely preserved the value, for example routine maintenance, then it is harder to prove that there is a marital component.

If you paid off a portion of the mortgage during the marriage then the reduction in the principle on the mortgage is marital property.

The value of the “membership” per se is her separate property. In this case you would probably need to hire a professional to value the condo and the membership.

Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm

4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax

10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax

1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
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The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.

A quick, but complicated question, just to get an idea on an important issue before I meet with a lawyer. Married 6 years, now planning separation.

She owned an out of state membership in a housing Co-Op for 10 years prior to meeting (pay $3500 in, get $3500 during moveout). We lived together in it for 2 years and then moved to NC and rented it out. Then last year, since the mortgage was paid off, the Co-Op members voted to switch to a market value Co-Op where you can sell it like a condo (approx $65,000). I renovated it for sale and it is now on the market. I paid a lot of the rent and the electic was in my name but she is the ‘member’. Any ideas on if we can’t reach an agreement if it would be all hers or split?