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Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
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I lived in our house with my husband for the past 10 years,

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I lived in our house with my husband for the past 10 years, during which time he paid the house off, and we got married in August. The house is in his name, yet we've both lived there for over a decade. Would I loose 1/2 ownership in a divorce? If he died would it go to 1/2 me, and 1/2 his only child? We live in Illinois.
Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

I am sorry for your situation. Can you please tell me:

1) Did he purchase the home BEFORE or AFTER the marriage?
2) If after, then did he use money that can be traced back to him prior to the marriage, or was it joint money and/or money out of a joint/communal account?

This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Before. We were engaged for 12 years. After 2 years I almost left him; however, he said he was buying us a house. I stayed, and we married in 2013. So I lived in the house that he said he bought for us for 10 years. He bought with his own money; however, he maid me pay utilities, and groceries. He would almost never let me write a check and always insisted on me paying him in cash.

Thank you. Okay, this is going to be a long answer because it involves multiple scenarios. Ergo, apologies in advance for the momentary wait while I am typing out the answer...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

In all total, I dated this man for 18 years. Keep in mind that when I left him 10 years ago, he begged me to return to him and purchased the house for us to live in and get married. However, to move in with him, I had to give up my apartment, and had to leave my grown children who were my roommates. He did not want me to move in with my kids. Over the past 10 years he has asked for me to pay at least 1 utility a month, and I have purchased a flat screen tv, and various other merchandise. We have literally been living together in this home as man and wife for over 10 years, though I understand IL in not a common-law state.

Thank you, G.

Okay, first of all I am going to assume for the duration of this answer that your name will not be added unto the property's deed.

Second, understand that property is divided in different ways in divorce versus probate. So both have to be tackled completely differently.

DIVORCE
Under 750 ILCS 5/, also known as the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, anything purchased BEFORE the marriage with his own money would be deemed his property.

So technically, if you were to divorce, the home would not be considered part of the marital estate which would then be distributed between the two of you, and would simply go to him directly.

HOWEVER, if you have paid for utilities and improvements to the home, the Court may order him to pay you whatever amount the Judge feels that your contributions have improved the property's value by. This is at the Judge's discretion.

This remains true even given the time the two of you were together.

Again, this is assuming that he does not put your name on the home, or, there is no pre/post -nuptial agreement in place.

PROBATE
Things are different with probate. In probate, he can either have a WILL or not.

If he passes WITHOUT a Will, you would automatically stand to inherit HALF of his estate (see here). This may or may not include the home - it is at the court's discretion.

If he passes WITH a will, then you inherit whatever the WILL states, OR, you can elect to inherit HALF of the estate (if he had no children) or ONE-THIRD of the estate (if he did), if he wrote you out of the will at time of passing. In other words, this "widow's elective share" how it is known ensures that you get at least HALF if he had no children, or a THIRD if he did, if he left less than that at time of death. Section 755-5/2-8.

Again, this is assuming that he does not put your name on the home, or, there is no pre/post -nuptial agreement in place.

I hope this helps and clarifies. Good luck.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

There is no pre-nup. Am I to understand that after giving the last 18 years of my life to this man, and moving away from my kids and into his home, which he bought for us to live in, I will receive nothing of the home in the event of a divorce, and only 1/2 (split with his one son) of the home if my husband passes before me. How can the courts do this when I have contributed financially for 10 years which is why he was able to pay off his house in 10 years.


 

G,

On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and I am afraid that this is one of these times, yes.

Am I to understand that after giving the last 18 years of my life to this man, and moving away from my kids and into his home, which he bought for us to live in, I will receive nothing of the home in the event of a divorce

I am afraid so. The home is technically his unless he agrees to add your name on the deed (in which case it becomes marital property). You can possibly get compensation for any improvements to the property, but of course I understand that this is not ideal.

and only 1/2 (split with his one son) of the home if my husband passes before me.

...I am afraid so, UNLESS, he specifically writes in his Will that you get the whole home.

. How can the courts do this when I have contributed financially for 10 years which is why he was able to pay off his house in 10 years.

It is just that the laws are set in a way that attempt to make every scenario fair. But that is not always the case. I am sorry...

Gentle Reminder: Again, surely you prefer that I be honest in my answer – please remember that rating negatively due to receiving bad news still hurts the expert – it is simply the way that the system is set up. Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. (You may always ask follow ups free after rating.)
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

One last question. He wanted told me that when we got married he was going to put my name on the title. But I am guessing I am still pretty screwed here. Even though he lied to me so I would get married.

Please ask as much as you need to, for this is why I am here.

He wanted told me that when we got married he was going to put my name on the title. But I am guessing I am still pretty screwed here. Even though he lied to me so I would get married.

Ugh, I am afraid so. There is no proof that he ever promised you this in writing, I am guessing. Unless there is, it is your word against his. You can always attempt to ask him again, but of course I can understand how this could be a delicate situation...
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

It would appear that my best option would be to stop putting any of my money into the house, and instead begin saving a nest egg in the event I divorce, or he dies. I know he signed a form from his work putting me on his insurance, and listing me as his beneficiary in his life insurance policy, so I'm thinking I am okay there. Do you know if I am automatically the beneficiary of his pension, or is that another form to sign? Boy, love sure makes one do stupid things. I'll never believe him again.

Do you know if I am automatically the beneficiary of his pension, or is that another form to sign?

In most cases, the spouse is automatically the default beneficiary unless he SPECIFICALLY named someone else. You may want to check into this.

Boy, love sure makes one do stupid things. I'll never believe him again.

Oh, if we only had a millennium to discuss that!
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thanks, Ely. You've been great. I will recommend your site, and you specifically. Have a great day, and don't get married until you've read the fine print!


 

Thank you for your kind words, G. That makes my day. Good luck, and please don't forget to rate my answer in one of top three faces and then SUBMIT – it is the only way I get credit for my time with you – or, please REPLY to keep on chatting – I want you to be satisfied.
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