Two years into the marriage my spouse and I purchased our first home; she chose to have a relative purchase 1/2 of a house she had inherited upon the death of her father. Roughly $50,000. We are now in our second home after 19 years of marriage. Is this now community property? As it was used as a down payment for property we held joint title to?
Family Law Attorney
Although factual details are critical to an accurate and complete answer to this question, generally, if your spouse took money from a separate property source (like an inheritance) and applied it to purchase a community property asset (like a house) AND the purchase was after 1/1/84, then, while the house is community property, your spouse has, at the time of a dissolution of marriage, a right to reimbursement of his separate property contribution, dollar-for-dollar, from the undivided equity, without interest or appreciation, and the community divides what's left.
For example, if H puts in a $50,000 down-payment from his separate property, and at the time of the dissolution, the net fair market equity in the house is $200,000, H is entitled to be reimbursed his $50,000 off the top, and the parties then equally divide the remaining $150,000; H gets at total of $125,000 (50+75) , W gets $75,000
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