Q: Can I transfer the ownership of the house to my daughter, even though I got married after I bought the house?
I bought the house as a sole owner 10 y ago. I have a daughter/ from a previous marriage who is now 19 y old. I got remarried after I bought the house. Can I transfer the ownership of the house to my daughter so in case of a divorce my current husband cannot take advantage of the home equity built into the house? I believe the law would otherwise state that all the value acquired during marriage is shared equally even though the house is only in my name. How can I protect the value of the house from being split?
We cannot provide legal advice as to how to bilk an opponent in anticipation of a court action. However, we can educate.
Trickery in avoiding exposure to a court's judgment as to realty will cause a heavily sanctioning of the tricky litigant. Indeed, New York law excludes separate realty from the judge's knife, but that portion of appreciation that may have occurred during the marriage is a marital asset. It will figure into any calculation the court does and hiding it by a ruse such as writing it over to a child is incredibly risky. There may also be a gift tax implication in such a transfer that will diminish the marital estate for which the spouse can act.
As an educational point, avoidance by ruse will be punished severely. However, the asker should consult with an attorney as to how to protect and preserve her property, and do so in a private, confidential setting.
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