My husband and I were married April 1989 after already living together for almost 10 years. In 2006 he took out an equity line on the house for 70,000 under both of our names to buy a lunch truck. In 2008 we separated. In 2009 he extended the equity line to 157,000 and removed me from the loan according to him to buy himself a house. He told me that he would be the one to pay off the equity line because he was using that money for himself and that the original house would be mine since it was already paid off. Now after another 10 years he wants to get divorced and wants me to either sell my house and give him half or for me to finish paying off the equity line that he used for his house and cars. He kept the lunch truck and forged my signature to get his 401K out. I don't think I should carry his debt when I've had no use of the new house, any of the cars or the lunch truck and he has been working a full time job making good money.
What can you do? Hire an attorney. It's the best way to protect your rights and interests.
Ms. Waxman is correct but there are other considerations. You really need the help of an attorney. You have huge misconceptions here. Did you know that this "new" house is probably a community property house along with the equity line of credit. The other house might also be a CP house or there is probably a CP interest in that old house. You also have a CP interest in the food truck business. You might have CP rights in the cars and in the 401K. That is why you really need help from a family law attorney here. DON"T sign off on anything.
Just based on the facts you relate, it is difficult to give you specific advice about the various assets and debts. The basic rules are that assets acquired and debt incurred during marriage belong to the community. Property and debts in place before marriage are separate, as are property acquired by gift and inheritance during marriage, as well as property acquired and debts incurred after marriage. Things can get fairly complicated when, as apparently happened in your case, you had a house before marriage that was refinanced during marriage and refinanced again after separation. It very well an expert to figure out who owns and who owes what from that series of transactions, not to mention your husband's obligation to reimburse the community for the rental value of the house if it is community property. Your list of questions reminds me of fact patterns in law school exams where you were graded on analysis of complicated fact patterns.
Do not rely on your Husband's analysis of your rights. It does not appear to be correct. Do not negotiate with him either. There are enough valuable assets and enough complicated facts and legal issues not to hire a good family law lawyer now.
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline