“I purchased the marital home prior to the marriage but during the marriage I took out a home improvement loan and obtained a second mortgage which resulted in title to the property transferring to both parties. Under New York Law, is the home marital property?”

 

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This qestion mirrors a case decided by the New York Appellate Division. In Parsons v. Parsons, the wife had purchased the home prior to the marriage, however, during the marriage the title to the property was transferred to both parties. Following the transfer of title, the husband made all payments on the home improvement loan and the mortgage. Under these facts, the New York court ruled the property was now marital property. However, under New York law, the wife was nevertheless credited for the contribution of her separate property towards the creation of the marital asset.

In another case decided by a court in the State of New York, Solomon v. Solomon, the wife inherited property in the Virgin Islands. However, during the marriage, the husband made substantial physical and financial contributions. The New York court, in the case of Solomon v. Solomon, ruled the property, although originally separate property not entitled to distribution given that it was inherited, was transformed into marital property following the husband’s contributions.

Both of these cases, decided by courts in the State of New York, demonstrate that even though a home may start out as separate property, where the efforts of one spouse result in improvements to the property, courts in New York are more than willing to find the home transformed into marital property. In analyzing these cases in New York, it is clear the cases hinge on the specific facts in each particular case.

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