I’ve been married for over 10 years and we have no children together. I filed for divorce from my deadbeat, soon-to-be ex-wife.
She worked full-time for the city of Philadelphia for almost 20 years, and began claiming disability after we got married.
I alone purchased my house and spent $20,000 remodeling it, all except for $1,000. I made every mortgage payment from day one, and all the bills are in my name.
“‘These laws must be changed. What can I do?’”
She is a homeowner. She inherited a home from her father before we were married, but she is co-owner of that property with her son.
My home is worth $280,000 and I purchased it for $114,000. We have been separated for three years and she wants half of the property.
How can I fight to not hand over half when I paid for my home, and made all the payments? Can the Superior Court of Philadelphia help me?
These laws must be changed. What can I do?
Victim of Unfair Laws
Like many divorcing couples, I’m sorry you find yourself in this predicament. Going through a divorce is like going through a Great Recession. It takes a massive financial and emotional toll on all parties, and some more than others.
Anything you buy during your marriage — including a house — is usually regarded as marital property in Pennsylvania, even if it’s only titled in your name. Gifts and inheritance, and assets listed in a pre-nuptial agreement as separate, are non-marital property.
Before getting married, it’s important to discuss financial goals, responsibilities and ownership of assets. Pennsylvania, as you probably know, is an equitable distribution state, meaning that assets are divided fairly, if not always evenly.
“If a spouse chooses to use non-marital funds for a common purchase, like buying a home, that money will often be considered marital property,” according to Petrelli Previtera, a law firm with offices across the country, including in Philadelphia.
“Some states have special protections, preventing homes against commingling. Pennsylvania is not one of them.”
If a non-marital asset increases in value during marriage, that too may be considered community property. “You may be able to trade other assets or come to an agreement if you want to keep your pension or retirement intact,” the law firm adds.