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Anonymous Asked:

Hi my wife and I are separation and just have a couple of questions.
1 we own a house but its only in my wife's name am i entilited to 50% of this house.
2 And am i entilted to 50% of the contents . I would appreciate some kind of guidance before i leave so i know and understand my rights.
thank you for your time

Expert Comment:

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A Family Lawyer
7 years ago

You are entitled to have her value the house. Married spouses are also entitled to equalization of net family properties. This means the value of all assets, debts and liabilities, each of you held on date of marriage and valuation date, usually, date of separation, may be determined and the party with the greater property value will pay a net payment to the other party so that on marriage breakdown both parties have equall value to their respective property. So, if there were no debts, liabilities and no assets other than the house, then you would be entitled to 50% of the equity in the house, subject to any other legal issues arising such as unequal division, trust claims, etc. The purpose of the property division in family law is not to change ownership but to address value of property.

The contents in the home are legally known as property. The owner of the contents would be responsible to value the contents. If contents are not jointly owned and solely owned by your wife, then you have no right to own them unless she agrees or an order is granted. Lets look at three different examples:
A. if your wife owns all of the contents, then you would have her value everything and she would owe you a payment on account of that value. You do not retain any contents unless she agrees or a court order awards you some contents.
B. If all contents are jointly owned, then both of you would determine the value of the contents and agree on ownership of the contents. If, for example, you offer her 80% of the jointly owned contents and you retain only 20% of the jointly owned contents then she may owe you a payment on account of the difference in value between the contents you kept and the contents she kept. Just because she retains 80% of the contents does not mean she got the greater value of contents.
C. If you had some very valuable contents and she had no contents on her own, and the majority of the contents in the house were jointly owned, it may be that an equal division of the contents would be you retain your valuable contents and she retains all jointly owned contents and even though she ends up with more quantity of contents the values have been equalized
As you can see, it really all depends on the value of the contents regardless of ownership. But you cannot retain what you do not own unless she agrees or a court order is made.

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