Q&A: Can my wife claim she owns the house if her income goes toward the mortgage and my income goes toward everyday

Question by tumby: Can my wife claim she owns the house if her income goes toward the mortgage and my income goes toward everyday
My wife and I own our home. We recently refinanced and now the mortgage is deducted from her own checking account that her income goes to. We have a joint account where my income goes into that we use for everyday living expenses. If we were to divorce, would she be able to claim that she was paying the mortgage, therefore, she should own the home.

Best answer:

Answer by Steven L
She can claim whatever she wants, that does not mean it is so. There is no state in the union where that would be so, assuming that when you refinanced, both of your names are on the mortgage and the deed. In california it doesn’t even matter, all of your income and assets are community property regardless of who’s name is on what account.

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7 Responses to Q&A: Can my wife claim she owns the house if her income goes toward the mortgage and my income goes toward everyday

  1. credible_bulk says:

    Good luck with that loving wife of yours.

  2. MissMaam says:

    Owning real property is all in matter of who is claiming ownership on the deed. Anyone can pay or say what they wish, but whose names are on title to the property? If living in community property state, she can claim part ownership even if she isn’t on title. Whcih makes one questions the reason for a spouse signing a quitclaim, huh?

  3. Guess Who? says:

    she can say what she wants…the question is, is HER name on the deed? If not, then she is NOT the owner of the house the person’s whose name is on the deed is the owner.

  4. sandra.lorraine says:

    Whos name is the house in??
    If you ever got divorced, she could say whatever she wanted to. Just because the payments come out of her account, that doesn’t mean anything.
    If she left you, she left the house. She would not longer be claiming that as her residence and vice versa.

    This is what a judge would look at in terms of the house…
    **The kids – school-aged children are often traumatized by a divorce, and moving can compound their emotional distress. However, sometimes a fresh start might be emotionally healthy, so speak with a child psychologist if you aren’t sure.

    **Sentimental or emotional attachment – for example, if you were the stay-at-home spouse and you’re emotionally attached to the house. Similarly, an attachment might exist if the house belonged to your parents or a relative before you were married.

    **House as settlement tool – the division of marital assets should be acceptable to both sides. You can use the house as a bargaining chip, or “settlement tool.”

  5. Joe D says:

    If both your names are on the deed, then it is joint property.
    Usually, in a divorce, the two parties meet with their lawyers before the final dissolution and work out the distribution of the property and assets. At that time, they get to decide. If they can’t then the judge decides who gets what, usually to the dissatisfaction of both parties. And usually, if it gets that bad, the lawyers walk away with more of your assets in the form of their fees than either one of you might get.

  6. godged says:

    Well, that is a more complicated question than it would appear on its face.

    How is the house in title? Is it in both your names? If it is, then she can pay every dime and it is still half yours.

    If you are in a community property state and the house is in one name, a litigator could argue that the house was paid for by her, but one of you should still be able to be entitled to the proceeds.

    If you are not in a community property state and the house is in HER name, you are in rough waters. An attorney will argue that she has paid for it and you aren’t entitled to it.

  7. haygirlc says:

    I agree with the above! How you took title and community property or not are huge decision makers. One other thing to keep in mind is that income from a job is considered community property. Therefore, if you make $ 200K a year and pay all the expenses, and your wife is a homemaker, if you have joint title and house is community property, wife is still 1/2 owner, no matter who paid the mortgage. Exclusion is if you received an inheritance (gift, donation, etc. that is non-income) and purchased a property with those funds and took title as sole owner. That is yours.

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