Questions about divorce & property and what to do?


#1

My husband inherited our home before we were married 10 yrs. ago because his first wife and daughter died in a car crash about 1 1/2 yrs after house was built. The land and the house was paid for by her parents, so there was never a mortgage on the property. She had HER name only put on the deed to the house since all funds came from her parents. After her death, the house became 1/2 of my husbands and 1/2 of the surviving son. The deed has never been changed unless it was done by the tax dept. If we separate or divorce, do I have ANY legal rights to the home even though I have been the only one since we married that has paid to upgrade the home, new carpet, new refrigerator, new dishwasher, landscaping, etc. When we married I was not working because I had been laid off. He stated he did not care if I went back to work or not. During the past 10 years, I have worked at various jobs, but was laid off from several, and have been unemployed for most of our 10 yrs. I did work part time occasionally until this year, and again, laid off. When I drew unemployment, he called it “welfare” and constantly belittled me as being lazy and not looking for work. He has been at his job for almost 21 years and does not know how difficult it is to find a job. I am currently 55 yrs old and even jobs that I am qualified for will take someone younger. I am so depressed. I lost my Dad April 19, 2011 and my husband did manage to drive the 50 miles to my Mom’s home the day before the funeral and stay a few hours, then left and went back home. He came to the funeral the next day and left shortly thereafter. His only words to me was “I’m sorry about your Dad.” A short hug, which is rare and simply for show, and that’s it. He took off work for 3 days for bereavement pay so that he could stay home and watch TV and play on his computer. We have lived under the same roof in separate bedrooms since about 6 months after we were married. I think he married me only to raise his son who is now 20 but is not living here because I won’t allow him to “flop” here with no job, hs dropout, and facing felony criminal charges for the 2nd time. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer 4 times since 2005. I am the only child. I had to drive 50 miles to pick my parents up, take them to Chapel Hill hospitals, doctors, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, etc. and then drive back home. I finally found a small house near them and my husband reluctantly did buy the house for me to stay there during the week to help with my parents because he knew I was going to buy it anyway. The mortgage is in his name only because he had better credit at the time and made more money. I actually lived primarily there for almost 5 years, but I had moved back here shortly before my Dad died. My Dad did go a couple of years between each diagnosis of cancers doing well. My husband does not talk to me, verbally abuses me, won’t go to counseling, nothing. That is why my stepson has turned out like he has. He has always treated him the same since we were married and before I’m sure. I came into the picture when he was 12, but everyone had already given him EVERYTHING he ever wanted due to the death of his mom. It was tragic, but he and my husband should have both had counseling after that. The mother was speeding (flying really), lost control and hit a tree. My stepson inherited her traits about staying in trouble since I now know her history. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. We live like BAD roommates and I want a better life than this, but what are my options? He is my only financial support and what little money I had saved, I took and put into this house that I’m finding out I may have no right to because he inherited it. Can someone give me some advice? The other house can’t be sold now for what was paid for it because of the economy and the neighborhood getting so bad. The mortgage on it was 40,000 in 2005 and is still 37,000 even after putting 16,000 worth of upgrades to it. This house appraised for 180,000 in 2007 when I had a real estate agent look at the house. It’s probably less now also. I am too old to start from scratch again and leave him with all of the nicer things that he can afford or that he inherited. I mentioned getting a newer vehicle, not new, because mine is about to die. He has a motorcycle (2002), Ford PU (2003) and I drive a 1998 Jeep that is in terrible shape. He is working on his motorcycle as I type this…never mind that I may break down on the road between here and my Mom’s that I have to go and do things for several times each week now that she is alone. HELP!!!


#2

The home is the separate property of your husband and his stepson; however you are entitled to one half of the marital portion of the active increase in value on the home that has occurred during the marriage (the value the upgrades have added and any principal reduction on the home).

You are entitled to one half all property that was accumulated during the marriage, including the value added to the home by active efforts during the marriage. If you are the dependant spouse you may also entitled to spousal support.