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Dimitry K., Esq.
Dimitry K., Esq., Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 41221
Experience:  Multiple jurisdictions, specialize in business/contract disputes, estate creation and administration.
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This is rather complicated

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This is rather complicated, but I will begin. I was previously married, and was quick claimed the house on divorce, as it was never legally in my name, but in the state of washington, I was awarded the home in the divorce. Then 2 years later, I remarried, and we both "retired" from our jobs shortly thereafter. One year after that, the house loan came up due, and I had to refinance. Since I no longer had an income, I had to rely on my husband to co-sign for the loan of around 235,000 left on the house. Now, we are going to "remodel" the home, as it has a wonderful view but needs upgrading. I am wondering about the legalities and my protection here. Can you give me advice on how to protect my equity and the home itself, or it that a given in Washington, a community property state and what was "mine is mine" prior to marriage? I assume that whatever "we" put into the home as an improvement is also community property, then would be half and half of the remodel amount? It is confusing. Thank you.

Thank you for your question. Please permit me to assist you with your concerns.

That is indeed a very interesting situation but it is likely not quite as complicated as you may think. During refinancing, did the property get refinanced under your new spouse's name along with your name, or did it remain in your name only?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I hope you received my response? It disappeared . The home has alot of equity in it, so you would think that I could have refinanced with only my name, but 3 years ago, the banks being what they were, they were not loaning money to anyone. They could have taken the home if they had to, but even 800,000 worth of equity didn't matter. So, I had to have my husband co-sign with me. He has two children, of which I do not want to go to them if anything should happen, and he knows this. I do not have children of my own. I would want it to go to my family, and he knows and respects this. However, business is business, and now we are embarking on a remodel. So, I owned the house in the divorce, he had to co-sign the remaining loan amount (and "we" are making those payments for 7 years now) and also embarking on a 300,00 remodel.

Thank you for your follow-up.

That is really all I needed to hear. The moment your husband's name was put on the property he became co-owner with you and has exactly the same percentage of ownership, and right to the home, as you do. It does not matter if he was added 3 years ago, yesterday, or from the start, the second he was entered your share was split exactly in half. If you want this to go to your family, then your husband would have to sign a quit claim deed over to you and also create a postnuptial agreement in which he agrees that all debts and interest, present and future, from this property are solely yours as he gives up all his rights and interests in the property. The same can be done with a remodel, and also with an addendum perhaps that any funds used would be a 'loan' to the other.

Good luck.

Dimitry K., Esq. and 2 other Legal Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Not that we are there, but if there were a divorce, wouldn't the home belong to me, since I owned it prior to marriage, with only the percentage of the time that we were married to him?

Thank you for your follow-up.

If there was a divorce, then the home would be split 50/50 because while married, you turned it into community marital property when you signed it over to your husband. That makes it joint property and it is no longer deemed separate in the eyes of the courts. So there is no partial percentage here, it is a 50/50 split.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am surprised by that, in the State of Washington, since it was quick claimed to me prior to this marriage. I thought that only what "we" added together was half and half. Thank you.

You are most welcome, truly.

Actually that would be true in every state regardless of other state laws pertaining to property. Any property that is signed over or co-signed while married, even if initial separate property, becomes marital and joint unless there is a legal agreement stating otherwise. The moment that property was signed over for the mortgage, he became as much owner as you are.

Good luck.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you very much!!

Glad to help! I just saw you other question and will be happy to assist you with it as well.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you!!

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