Tacoma, WA asked in Divorce for Oregon

Q: We bought a house 3 mo ago its in both our names loan in his. Does length of marriage matter in judge decision on what

Happens with the house? We’ve only been married almost 3 yrs Jan . What will the outcome be

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joanne Reisman
Joanne Reisman
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: Before you get all worked up over how the house will be treated in a divorce I suggest you check on what the current value is and compare it to the balance left on the mortgage. Unless you made a very large down payment there is probably little or no equity to fight over and you are very lucky that you aren't on the mortgage debt so you don't have to worry about it.

A court in a divorce will treat ALL PROPERTY ACQUIRED DURING THE MARRIAGE AS MARITAL PROPERTY SUBJECT TO DIVISION. So when you bought the house, whose name is on the house, whose name is on the loan and how long you have been married are not typically relevant. It's still marital property subject to division if you divorce. What could be an issue is if your husband had money prior to the marriage and he used his pre-marital money to make a down payment on the house. Given the short length of the marriage the court may try to give him back the amount of his down payment to sort of put you both back to where you were before the marriage. But any equity that accrued above that down payment would probably have to be split. No one can give you an exact answer without examining all the facts of your case. In my experience it takes at least 10 years of making mortgage payments before the debt drops enough that the property can be sold at a profit. So again, crunch the numbers as there may be nothing to fight about.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

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