How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
A new question is answered every 9 seconds
Ask a Family Law question
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
characters left:
4 Family Lawyers are Online Now

Questions about Joint Property Law

Joint property, also known as community property, is a type of property ownership system between spouses in which property gained over the course of a marriage becomes joint property of both spouses. In the case of divorce, annulment, or death, the property would be divided between the spouses. The property owned by a spouse before marriage is owned by that spouse and can be converted to joint property only when it is transmuted to community property. Community property states in the United States include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In such states, each spouse owns one half of the undivided property acquired during marriage with exceptions for gifts or inheritances. However, the rules may vary from state to state. In non-community property states, the courts may require the property to be divided equitably. The questions answered below by legal experts may help clarify doubts on joint property law.

Is a family inheritance received while married considered joint property in a divorce?

Generally, inherited property is not considered to be joint property in a marriage and will not be subject to division of assets during divorce. However, if such property was comingled with other property acquired during marriage or was used as financial support for the marriage it may be considered a marital asset. Any property received while you were separated from your spouse and has not been comingled with existing or new marital asset will likely not be dived by court upon divorce. Law may vary from state to state.

Can I be made liable for joint property acquired by my husband and his father before our marriage?

Typically, you will not be liable for property purchased by your husband before your marriage. Separate property can become marital property, if for instance a spouse becomes financially involved with the property. In your case, it is unlikely you will have any obligations unless the ownership was conferred to you. Any question of personal liability would arise if you were given the Power of Attorney (PoA) and if, while exercising the PoA, you made decisions that incurred liability. In this case, since the property was purchased as joint ownership with your spouse’s father, in the event of death of your spouse the property will most likely be transferred to the father unless they owned the property as tenants in common.

What’s the remedy for my wife not cooperating in the sale of joint property where she is staying with our children, as she finds this situation more favorable than selling?

If your spouse is refusing lower the price of the house to match local market prices, it might be construed as deliberately attempting to prevent sale of the property. Such action may be viewed as violation of the court’s order requiring the parties to sell the property. You may file a show cause notice with the court requesting the court to hold your ex in contempt for not cooperating in the sale of the property. Additionally, given the impact on your finances, you may also want to file a motion to modify support.

In Pennsylvania, how can I divide the joint property and debt with my partner to whom I’m not married but wish to separate?

The most sensible option would be to reach a mutual agreement in which one partner buys the other partner’s share of the property and then refinances to be the sole person on the mortgage. If you do not do this, it is likely you will have to sell the property and share the equity equally. With regards the accumulated debt, you may want to create a written agreement that details splitting the debt; however, it would not be binding on the creditors if you both have your names on the accounts. You may want to close down any shared accounts so neither partner can keep accumulating debt in an account with the other partner’s name on it.

If your partner refuses to sell the property or does not agree on division of equity, you may file a suit to force a sale and have your name removed from the account. As the co-owner of bank accounts and credit cards, you may choose to close them at your will.

Property laws vary from state to state, and some states are joint property states. If a couple enters into marriage or is simply living together, division of property is inevitable in the case of a separation or divorce. To understand the specifics of the law regarding joint property in your particular state, you may want to get clarification from a legal expert.
Ask a Family Law question
Type Your Family Law Question Here...
characters left:
4 Family Lawyers are Online Now

How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
< Last | Next >
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
  • He answered my question promptly and gave me accurate, detailed information. If all of your experts are half as good, you have a great thing going here. Diane Dallas, TX
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • Ron

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    21182
    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/FO/fordguy4u/2011-12-17_222940_HPIM1257.64x64.JPG Ron's Avatar

    Ron

    ASE Certified Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    21182
    23 years with Ford specializing in drivability and electrical and AC. Ford certs and ASE Certs
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/lyeung1/2010-07-25_032152_tn_IMG_0241.JPG Dr. Y.'s Avatar

    Dr. Y.

    Urologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    18388
    I am fellowship trained specializing in general urology and reconstructive urology.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/docjohn174/2008-12-13_170143_johnask.jpg John's Avatar

    John

    Home Appliance Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    13453
    Appliance repair business owner for over 43 years.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/MU/multistatelaw/2011-11-27_173951_Tinaglamourshotworkglow102011.64x64.jpg Tina's Avatar

    Tina

    Lawyer

    Satisfied Customers:

    8489
    JD, BBA Over 25 years legal and business experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/dermdoc19/2010-09-30_160749_Photo_122807_015.JPG dermdoc19's Avatar

    dermdoc19

    Dermatologist

    Satisfied Customers:

    3847
    30 years practice in general and cosmetic dermatology
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/BI/birddoctor/2012-6-22_173214_birddoctor.64x64.png Dr. Pat's Avatar

    Dr. Pat

    Bird Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3384
    25+ years working primarily or exclusively with birds
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/rydergar/2012-6-6_192240_IMG0328.64x64.JPG Dr. Gary's Avatar

    Dr. Gary

    Cat Veterinarian

    Satisfied Customers:

    3299
    DVM, Emergency Veterinarian, BS (Physiology)