Just now, after almost a year since filing, that my spouse plans to charge me for Epstein credits since I am the one that remained in the house. (Their choice to leave, not "kicked" out) Looking at it from a fair market value of potential rental income - the home is not in any shape to be rented. There are two broken windows, broken patio door screens, no flooring (just the concrete slab) in the living areas. The garbage disposal and dishwasher are broken, the stove face needs replacing, though it works. The furnace and A/C have not been run in over 25 years, so who knows. I am barely making ends meet now, and the house is upside down in the mortgage, there is no way on earth I could afford to make the house up to code to be able to rent it. Please can someone explain this process.I'm confused Ms Straus, the way the opposing attorney is making it sound is that I am going to OWE my ex for the "privilege" of staying in the community home. I have been the one making the mortgage payments, paying for all of the upkeep, including a large expenditure for the well. The house is upside down and is in dire need of updates and repairs. I need help understanding what the Epstein credit means to me in this situation. thanks
The rental value of the house is more properly referred to as a Watts credit. And the calculation of fair rental value is the market rental rate (and yes, the condition of the house is relevant) MINUS the mortgage, taxes, and home owners' insurance. In short, the net profit that you'd make as a landlord, were you to rent the place out to third parties. So it's conceivable (and not uncommon) that there simply is no fair rental value to the place.
Once you determine the rental value, then you would arguably owe your spouse one half of this.
By the way, unless he put you on prior, written notice that he would be seeking this Watts credit, you should not be liable for it.
As for Epstein credits, these are claims for reimbursement for the post-separation payment of community debts. So, your spouse were paying the mortgage, property taxes, and home owners' insurance, (or pre-separation credit cards, or whatever), then you could owe them for half of these post-separation payments.
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Epstein credits have nothing to do with FMV. They are for reimbursement to a spouse who has made payments--mortgage payments--on a community asset with their separate trooper funds.
All of Ms. Straus’ responses to questions posted on Avvo are intended as helpful information based upon the facts stated in the question, and are not to be relied upon as a full or complete legal opinion. It may not be what you wished to hear, and it does not create an attorney-client relationship. Ms. Straus has been licensed to practice law in California for 30 years. Ms. Straus regrets to report that you cannot get contact information about her in any way, shape or form, as Avvo wont let you. Good luck.
It sounds as if your ex is attempting to make a claim for the differential between your house payment and the fair rental value of the property. The house is not a condition to be rented, so all in all, it sounds like an illusionary argument. If he moves forward in this direction, just make sure you produce clear evidence of the exact condition of the property, why it is not legally rentable, and if it can be rented it would be for a minimal amount of money from which you derive no reimbursement.
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