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Roger, Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 31781
Experience:  BV Rated by Martindale-Hubbell; SuperLawyer rating by Thompson-Reuters
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After being married for 4 years my wife wants a divorce. I

Resolved Question:

After being married for 4 years my wife wants a divorce. I have owned the house we lived in for 5 years, 1 year before I met her. I put $20,000.00 down but there is only $25000.00 in equity. Do I get my $20,000.00 back and split the rest?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.
Hi - my name is XXXXX XXXXX I'm a Family Law litigation attorney here to assist you.

Oklahoma is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court divides the property equitably - which doesn't necessarily mean equal. Instead, it means that the court will divide the property in a fashion that it believes is fair. Here's a good link that outlines this:

Thus, in this case, even though you owned the property before marriage, it became marital property the instant that you occupied the property as husband and wife. Thus, the judge will divide your interest and your wife's interest in the property equitably.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Ok the house is devided "equitably" I'm sure a judge will agree to whatever we stipulate to. I'm still not clear on about the $20,000.00 I put down on the houuse before we were married. If there is $25,000.00 in equity do I have a right to the $20,000.00 I put down and we agree on the division of $5,000.00 or does it not matter about my down payment prior to the marraige and we divide the $25,000.00?
Expert:  Roger replied 5 years ago.
Sorry, but the answer posted before I was done.

In the case where you've invested money before the marriage, the judge will try to give you credit for it by equaling the value you invested prior to marriage with something that the other spouse brought to the marriage. Thus, you're not automatically entitled to $20,000.00. Instead, the judge will try figure out if there is something else you can give your interest up in to equal the money you've invested in the house. It is entirely possible for the judge to order that the equity in the house be divided equally - $12,500.00 per person. This is most likely if there's nothing that your spouse brought to the marriage that you can't give up your interest in.

However, if you have stipulated to the amounts, the court is not likely to interfere. However, if you can't agree, the judge will decide the matter.

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