Here’s How to Combat Equity Division
Video Transcribed: I pay the mortgage all the time. Why don’t I get to keep the house? My name is Oklahoma father’s defense lawyer Brian L. Jackson with Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable.
I want to talk some more about the issue of divisibility of equity in a piece of real property owned during a marriage. This is a question, this is something I hear a lot from guys that I represent, where they’ve been paying the mortgage out of the money they earn, that they see as their money. And they feel that “Well, that’s my house. I paid the mortgage. She didn’t pay the mortgage. I pay the mortgage. I pay the taxes.” Unfortunately, the law didn’t see it that way. And guys, this is some bitter medicine you’re going to have to take and swallow. The law will view your collective earnings, whatever you earn, and whatever she earns during the pendency of the marriage while y’all are living in amity.
In other words, well, y’all are living together and you’re a unit, you’re still living together as man and wife, and your collective earnings are divisible marital property. So even if you were paying it out of whatever it is you took home on your check, it’s still going to be considered marital property, and that’s even if her name isn’t on the deed, even if her name’s not on the note. And that may sound really, really, really unfair. And all I can tell you is that’s the status of the law right now.
You’re still going to have to divide that equity as it is. And in fact, you’re going to have to divide that equity even if you agree to pay the mortgage coming out the other side of the divorce. Now, it’s part of a larger pool of resources. So whenever you’re talking about property division and debt division, the court’s going to take all the marital property, roll it together into a pot and start chopping it up.
And all of the marital debts, roll it into a pile, start chopping it up. So the court’s going to look to find an equitable solution to the problem. And if you end up having to pay off that note, you will get it back somewhere else. But the fact that you’re paying the note doesn’t guarantee you’re going to get all of the equity. It is divisible based on those principles. So that can be a bitter pill to swallow, but this is a fact of life and you should be aware of it very early on. Because quite frankly, it’s not worth spending a lot of time trying to litigate that if the court’s just going to say, “No, here’s how it is.” Now, there may be really good reasons to litigate it and those can be very fact-specific to your case, which is why you want to talk to a good lawyer. And one place you can find a good asset division attorney in Tulsa, Oklahoma is Dads.Law, where fathers are not disposable. Thanks, guys.