October 2, 2022
Chicago 12, Melborne City, USA

‘They don’t have the best marriage’: My stepfather bought a house 20 years ago before marrying my mother. She paid for a new roof and kitchen, but her name is not on the deed


Dear Quentin,

My mother married a man at the same time that she was buying a house.

Fast forward 20 years. He kept saying that he was going to do it but never did it. He simply said, “He has a name in a trust and he can stay as long as he wants when I die.” But that doesn’t really help the situation. He has kept his own money in this house for the last 20 years, including a new roof, a well and a kitchen.

I know he paid the mortgage until it was recently paid off. That doesn’t seem to be the case. They don’t have the best marriage, and I think my mom would be nothing if they divorced after so much time and effort. We live in Florida and I don’t know if there are any specific laws on this issue. Please help.

Anxious son

Dear friends,

Florida is a fair distribution state, so divorce will begin with a 50/50 distribution as the court basis, but many other factors contribute to how wealth should be distributed. Separate property – as the name implies – does not include marital property, and divorce is not subject to division by court. This property may be acquired before marriage, as a result of inheritance, income from non-marital assets and / or property that a wife has waived all claims in the premarital contract.

Your stepfather’s house was basically a separate property. However, the value of that home has increased significantly over the last 20 years. “If a non-marital asset becomes more valuable because of the work of one or both of the spouses, or if one or both spouses have spent marital funds or assets to improve it,” enhancement “- that is, the difference between the two Value and property before marriage – can be considered marital property, ”according to Ayo & Iken, a law firm with offices in Florida.

Your mother’s contribution to the home – which was logically important, added to the value of the home and came from her fund or joint fund – is most likely combined with the property, even if your mother’s name does not appear in the deed or mortgage. Say your stepfather bought the house for মায়ের 200,000 before his marriage to your mother and now it is worth $ 1 million, and your mother contributed significantly to the appreciation of this property during that marriage. That $ 800,000 appreciation became marital property.

This combined rule also applies to bank accounts and stocks. In Abdnaur vs. Abdnaur, for example, the husband is married with enough stock holdings in his name alone. At the time of the wedding, however, she used marital funds to buy various stocks and set up a cash account as part of her husband’s brokerage account – the same account she opened before the wedding. The Circuit Court ruled: “Any assets that may have previously been said to have a non-marital character have been merged into the consolidated cash account.”

Your mother should also keep and / or trace all records of financial transactions. There have been cases in Florida – and elsewhere – where a court has, in effect, mistakenly identified individual assets as martial assets. It can be a complex and intricate process. A divorce is obviously the worst case scenario, and your mother should consult a lawyer to discuss what to do in the event of a divorce. If your honest father wants to kill him before then you should seek his legal advice to evaluate his options. It may be that his faith protects his interest in the property, but it is more important to determine in advance than it is to be true.

See Manist Private Facebook Group, where we find the answer to the problem of money fork in life. Readers are writing to me with all kinds of hesitations. Post your question, tell me what you want to know more about, or check out the latest Manist columns.

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