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Without a divorce, am I entitled to any money from the sale of the house?

Westbury, NY |

My husband bought this house before we were married, and he is the only one on the deed and I moved in when we were married 19 yrs ago, and had 3 kids with him. Our marriage is now not working out and he is now selling the house and has a potential buyer, I want know if any percentage of the sale of the house belongs to me ? If I decide to separate from him at anytime after the sale of house would I still be entitled to any money from the the sale. I am only interested in the money from the sale of the house. I think he is going to leave me after he sells the house and take the kids with him because he knows I don't have anywhere to go right now with the kids. He might take the money and hide it because he can't put the money into an account because he's in trouble with the IRS.

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Attorney answers 3


Without an agreement or divorce judgment (or interim order) you may not receive money from the sale. Whether the property is separate or marital must be decided by the court if you can not get an agreement. Without your name on the deed your spouse can sell the property without your knowledge. You need to get something started. Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Howard E. Knispel, Esq.
Commack, NY

The above is a general answer and is not considered legal advice. You should contact an attorney before proceeding to take any legal action, signing any papers or upon service of a summons. Howard E. Knispel 631-864-7589


If a divorce is commenced, the house would be declared either marital or separate property by agreement or judicial decision. Prior to the divorce, it may hinge on where the money from the sale is placed. As an example, if the money is placed in a joint account, it may be considered co-mingled and you may have a claim to it. Also, you may be entitled to some of the equity in the house based on any increase in value and your contribution to the appreciation. another option is creating a postnuptial agreement that accounts for the house if there is a divorce.
You need to speak to an attorney immediately who will be able to advise you more specifically.
Good luck.


The answer to your question hinges on some other needed facts. If you helped your husband locate the house, helped with the down payment, worked with realtors etc. and your husband told you that some day he would place your name on the deed, you might be able to claim a constructive trust and obtain a share of the proceeds that way. Additionally, if your husband had a mortgage on the residence that was paid during the marriage, with funds earned during the marriage, then you would be entitled to one-half the mortgage payments made because he used marital funds to pay down a mortgage on separate property. Another way to potentially get a share of the proceeds, is if major improvements were made to the residence, which resulted in an increase in the value of the residence. You would then be entitlted to a share of the appreciation in value to the extent that the improvements were made from money earned during the marriage or due to your efforts. It doesn't sound like your husband will comingle the proceeds with marital funds based on the facts relayed. HIding the money won't prevent you from getting your share, if you are entitled to receive a share, since he will have to disclose on his statement of net worth that he transferred or sold property within the last three years prior to the commencment of any action for divorce.

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