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Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 30168
Experience:  Attorney with experience in family law.
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My husband and I dated two years and went through counseling

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My husband and I dated two years and went through counseling before we married on April 29, 2000. At the time, he was renting the ranch from his father, but the day before we got married, his father passed away from complications of emphazema. We got married the next day anyway and then burried his father five days after getting married. Now, we have been married 13 years, been together 15 years and he has never put together a will. We are now fighting because I was told originally that I would get half of everything he owns, just like he would get half of everything I own. He has two grown children, but we both supported them over the years. They continue to expect us to pay the bills for them and pasture their cattle that Kent has given them while we were married. He is a self-employed rancher and he says the house is his even though he pursued me to marry him and I left my home to do it. I have brought the health insurance for 12 out of the 13 years, paid taxes, helped with groceries for brandings, and helped feed cattle, and my father gave us 3 bulls to expand our herd over the years. My name is XXXXX XXXXX operating loan. I have purchased items for the house and ranch. His ex wife continually harrasses us and recently tried to run me off the road. Do I have any legal rights to half of the ranch and house I am currently living in and on, or will his two kids who are 27 and 22 get all of it. What I see is after all the sacrifice I have made, maybe I would be better off getting a divorce than waiting until he gets his act together . I am a teacher and have sacrificed my own retirement account three different times when we had droughts so we could survive. Do I have any legal rights at all?

I did have get prenant in July of 2000 and lost the baby after his children had caused a lot of trouble and his ex wife had caused a lot of stress.  


My name is XXXXX XXXXX I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Because your husband inherited the house, even if his father had died after the wedding, that is his separate property and you would have no legal claim to it in the event of divorce. If you owned a home prior to the marriage, that would be your home, however, if you sold it and shared the proceeds with your husband, that's considered a gift to the marriage.

If the business grew and expanded during the marriage, then there is an argument that you are entitled to half the proceeds of the increase in value. If money was made from the bulls that your father gave, you're entitled to some or all of that money, depending on whether the gift was only to you or to both of you.

Any other property acquired during the marriage, by either of you, is split 50/50. That may include money in bank accounts, cars, improvements made to the house or business, retirement accounts, and investments.

Should you remain married, and your husband dies without a will, you would receive one-half of his estate as the surviving spouse and the remaining estate would be divided among his children evenly. Wy. Stat., Section 2-4-101. That would include half the value of the house and business. His ex-wife would receive nothing.

If you have any questions or concerns about what I've written, please reply so that I may address them. It's important to me that you are 100% satisfied with the service I provide. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so that I get credit for answering your question. Thank you.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you for your answer. Now, if he told me from the beginning "Mi Casa--You Casa" when we married and he asked me to move in with him, does that still hold true? I spent some of my salary decorating the house because we redecorated before we got married.


Also, the bulls impregnate the cows, then and so the calves are the offspring of the bulls. So most of the cow herd we now own would have genetics from the bulls that came from my dad.

Unfortunately, an oral agreement isn't enough to give someone an ownership interest in real estate. It would have to be in writing. If you spent money to remodel, then you'd be entitled to half the increase in value, but not the total property.

In a divorce, you'd have a strong argument that the bulls gave you a claim to a portion of the value of the business. That could potentially mean trying to figure out to what degree the bulls increased the value, which is complicated, but not impossible (they have business valuation experts who can help). If the bulls were a gift to you personally, rather than to you and your husband, that would allow you to argue for more than if they were a joint gift.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Okay, if all his land, he rented from his dad and then inherited when he died, if we were betrothed, would I be entitled part of it if the will was not read until after we were married? Or would that all be left to his kids unless he protected me in the will?

Inherited property always belongs to the spouse that inherited it. When the property was inherited isn't relevant, unless it was actually willed to "My son and his wife" or something like that. If there was no will, or he was the only one named, the property belongs to him.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

So would I receive any of it if he didn't have a will? My biggest question is do I invest anymore money into this ranch if I don't actually inherit any of it?

I'm sorry. There's a big difference between what a spouse gets when someone dies and what a spouse gets in a divorce. I thought you were still talking about the possibility of divorcing. If you do divorce, you would get none of your husband's property when he died, unless he left a will leaving it to you.

The law does not allow a person to disinherit a spouse. If your husband dies while you are still married and does not have a will, you would receive one-half of his estate as the surviving spouse and the remaining estate would be divided among his children evenly. If he left a will that did not name you, you would still have a right to claim 1/4 of his estate under Wy. Stat., Section 2-5-101.
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