Question: I am married but separated. Title to the home we live in is in my spouse’s name alone. How is that addressed as part of the equalization of our net family properties?
Answer:This is a great question, and a somewhat complicated one. Typically, both married spouses’ names are on title to the home, usually as joint tenants. Occasionally, for one reason or another, only one spouse is on title. This can impact whether you value the home as of the date of separation for equalization, or a later date when it is dealt with. Real estate values typically rise, so it is usually better to have a share of a later value (the last 6 months aside!). In order to claim a share of the current value, a spouse may try to prove a claim in several ways, e.g. a constructive trust, a remedial trust, or a joint family venture or enterprise. The court will look at many factors, including why the non-titled spouse is not on title, and what if any direct and/or indirect contribution he/she made toward the equity in the home.