Skip to main content

Spouse property transfers -- divorce

Albany, NY |

I found out that during our marriage, my husband's father bought a property in poor condition, and then transferred it over to my husband (as a gift?) a month later so he was then the owner. During my husband's ownership of the property, it grew $100k in price due to renovations. When he found out I'm divorcing him he signed it back over to his father. Do I have any right to a percentage of the difference that occurred during his ownership during our marriage?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 6


If he invested marital money to renovate the property you may have an interest in it. Also, if he transferred the property after he was served with the automatic orders, he is in violation. Even if he transferred the property before he was served, you have a great legal argument which you can use to try to discredit him.


You have a claim to the appreciation in value. Your claim will be based on contributions made to that appreciation in value during your marriage. If your husband used marital money (income earned during the marriage) to renovate the property, your claim is clear. If your husband expended sweat equity, it is could be more difficult to prove your claim; but you still have a claim. If you have not consulted with an attorney, you should do so. If you have not filed for divorce, you should do so. During the divorce process, you will need to obtain all of the documentary information that you can about the property, the renovations, and the transfer back to his father.


If he used marital funds to renovate the property, then you may be entitled to receive a credit for 50% of the cost of the renovations. If you actively contributed to the appreciation in the value of the property, then you may be entitled to receive a share of the appreciation. The transfer prior to a divorce action being commenced will have to be disclosed by your husband on his statement of net worth. You can find out if your husband transferred the property to his father for no consideration by searching for the deed on line.


Hello - a lot of this depends on the timing of your husband's actions. Was the property transferred before or after he was served with the divorce papers?

You are entitled to a portion of the appreciation of the property based on your "contribution" to the property's increased value. That doesn't mean you had to be the one swinging the hammer druing the renovations though. I'll guess that the money that went into the property was "marital" money, and your work efforts to produce a portion of that money, or even the fact that you took care of other marital duties while your husband worked on this place could arguably be a basis to get a portion of the increased value.

So typical legal answer - yes maybe. The next step would be to get more detail on when and how the transfer back to your father in law took place and exactly how the renovations that increased the value were completed.


The key to your question turns on the facts behind the statement "it grew $100k in price due to renovations." Specifically - who did the renovations and how were they paid for? If the renovations were conducted by your father in law and your husband had no hand or money in the renovations, they you likely are entitled to nothing. Otherwise, I agree with the other answers you've received.

I am not your attorney and any posts/messages or responses to posts/messages can not establish an attorney-client relationship. You should not rely upon free legal advice and I disclaim any liability for the results if you do.



The father-in-law had no working authorization during the time of the buying of this property and the renovations. However, his wife is a citizen of the US and was receiving around $2k a month for pension. My husband is going to be saying that the property was bought from her pension money and was renovated using that money also, however, $2k a month is not a feasible amount of money for that especially since they were paying off the mortgage on their own house during that time. My lawyer seems to not be interested in proving that it was money from my husband's salary that he was hiding from me going into that property. He also quit his job at one point and spent all his time there. Now, he rents out the property and that's what he's living off of (still no job) however he is saying "it's his dad's business" when it's clearly not. I don't know what to tell my lawyer I don't understand why he isn't fighting for me and thinking of ways to prove all this, isn't this information enough to get something going?

Paul Karl Siepmann

Paul Karl Siepmann


Maybe, maybe not. If you can track your husbands money going into the rental house then that is something to hang your hat out. It is difficult to get there if all you have is circumstance and speculation. Your father-in-law's immigration status/work authorization isn't going to prove anything. You need to have a frank discussion with your attorney regarding your expectations vis-a-vis the house issue. This could be a matter for trial requiring extensive and creative discovery. Are you financially prepared for those legal fees?


No, gifts are considered seperate property.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer