It is my understanding that you are a community property state. the question becomes whether the house if part of the community. This may be determined by considering what if anything your wife contributed to that proeprty. again this is only my understanding and you may benefit from consulting with local counsel in advance to anyseperation. this way you know all your options ahead of the game.
The above answer does not constitute an attorney client relationship and/ or retention of counsel. This answer is based upon the facts presented and may change if additional information is provided. The rules of the Bar for New York State may require me to advise that this could be construed as attorney advertisement.
If community property money, such as earning during marriage, were used to pay down the mortgage and increase the equity in your home, the community may have gained an interest in the property, even though it started out as your own separate property.
Without knowing more, I can't say for sure, but it would seem highly doubtful that your wife could take it away from you.
You should contact a local attorney for a more detailed answer.
If community earnings (yours or your wife) paid down the mortgage or paid for improvements on the house, the community gained a "pro tanto" interest in the house, and your wife is entitled to 1/2 of that "pro tanto" interest as her share of the community property. Depending on the amount of the mortgage paydown or improvements made with community property during the marriage, your wife's community interest may be fairly small. You would best retain or at least consult an experienced Family Law Attorney if you and your wife separate or begin divorce proceedings.
Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, as each situation is fact specific, and it is not possible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and court pleadings filed in the case. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.
I agree with the answers above. The issue you raise can become complicated very fast depending on the specific circumstances, specifically if the loan was refinanced in both names during marriage or if community funds were used to improve the property.
Generally, your down payment on the house remains your separate property and is due to you upon sale or property division before the community property interest is divided. Therefore, if there is only equity to pay your separate property, then the community cannot realize any interest in the equity. However, reaching a conclusion as to the community vs. separate interests can require forensic experts. Therefore, you should seek the counsel of an experienced family law attorney in your area to help you determine what information is required to determine the separate and community interests. And remember, you get 1/2 the community interest.
The discussions above are for general information and DO NOT establish an attorney-client relationship. The discussions shall not constitute legal advice and are not intended to supplant or replace legal advice. You should consult an attorney in your area for legal advice as they will have the proper legal knowledge applicable to your case.
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