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Who gets the house

Discussion in 'Division of Marital Property' started by shortmort37, Jan 29, 2020.

  1. shortmort37

    shortmort37 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    Jurisdiction:
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    I am asking this question on behalf of my daughter.

    Five years ago, I gifted her with $40K to put a down payment and cover settlement costs on a foreclosed house in a gentrifying neighborhood in Philadelphia. The house was a steal at $140K; it had been renovated, and comps in the neighborhood are now over $300K.

    A year after she moved in, she married. The house remains solely in her name. He has considerable loan and child support obligations; she can document that she has paid all of the mortgage payments and RE taxes from her account; all of the utilities are in her name, she has paid those as well. He pays no "rent", although they do share the costs of groceries.

    For what it's worth, they have a child.

    She is now seeking a divorce. I understand that PA is an "equitable distribution" state, but what is equitable in this situation? She is working but also going to school, and he does not contribute to her education, and childcare at home is shared. What other factors are to be considered - and, what are the chances she will be awarded the home, without having to tap the equity for any kind of settlement?
     
  2. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    I'm going to answer the question in the subject header of your post without reading any of the actual post except for the line that says they have a child (whom I will assume to be a minor),

    First, 85%+ of divorce cases are resolved by a marital settlement agreement, which means that the answer to your question will likely be whatever your daughter and her husband agree to.

    If they can't settle the property division and force the court to decide, the following is a relevant generality: Where a married couple has one or more minor children, the parent who gets primary physical custody of the child(ren) is typically awarded possession of the marital residence.

    That said...

    What is the source of the money that went into that account?

    What is "equitable" depends on all relevant facts about the totality of their marital and nonmarital property and their relative incomes and any nonmarital financial obligations. Needless to say (and understandably), your post doesn't contain haven't given us anything approaching all of the relevant information.

    Your daughter needs to discuss these issues with her divorce attorney.
     
  3. shortmort37

    shortmort37 Law Topic Starter New Member

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    The mortgage is paid solely from her bank account. The funds in that account are derived solely from her wages.

    When I posted, I understood that I hadn't "given you anything approaching all of the relevant information". Which is exactly why I asked: What other factors are to be considered? I'm happy to provide details of what I know. Of course a divorce attorney will need to be consulted; there isn't one, yet. This was an exploratory email.

    FWIW, their salaries are comparable. Besides the mortgage, she has no other financial obligations except for a small student loan (on the course for a recent semester). He has school loans (I don't know the amount), a car loan, and child support. I don't know the details of his obligations other than that.
     
  4. adjusterjack

    adjusterjack Super Moderator

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    Her income as well as her husbands income are "marital income" regardless of how they are segregated.

    Here is a list of those factors right from the Pennsylvania equitable division statute:

    Section 3502 - Title 23 - DOMESTIC RELATIONS

    Wouldn't help because what you don't know is probably critical to what will happen between your daughter and her husband.

    She should consult one ASAP.
     
  5. flyingron

    flyingron Well-Known Member

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    Yes, people often don't seem to understand what marriage is. Trying to segregate your fiances doesn't break up the marital estate.
     
  6. zddoodah

    zddoodah Well-Known Member

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    Wages are typically considered to be marital property, regardless of which spouse earns them, so it is likely that her husband will be entitled to a marital interest in the property even though it's titled only in her name.

    One would need to know every asset of either one and every detail of all finances (income, debts, etc.). That's way beyond the scope of an internet message board.
     

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