When I get married, will my wife gain ownership rights to my house?

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Question:

My fiancée has asked about putting her name on the deed to my house after we get married. I don't want to do that in case things don't work out and we divorce. But I've heard that when I marry all of my assets automatically become half hers, anyway. I should say that I will be the only one paying for the mortgage and home improvements. What does the law say, and will a premarital agreement remedy the situation?

Answer:

Keeping the house in your name only and paying all expenses yourself increases the likelihood that you will be awarded all or most of the house in case of a divorce.

But if the two of you stay married for a number of years, equitable distribution law is likely to kick in, meaning that a judge will add the value of the house to the mix when dividing your joint assets. The judge is likely to presume that you have paid the mortgage and maintenance from your after-marriage earnings, which are considered marital property.

If you are the belt and suspenders type, it is true that a premarital agreement with fair terms that your intended understands and then signs can strengthen your position.

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