I am often asked how the court treats assets of a spouse going through a divorce. This question came up last night- thus this post this morning.
Most people believe that assets owned by a spouse pre-marriage belong to that spouse post-divorce. Think again. Consider the case of a 20 year marriage in which marital home was owned by wife pre marriage. The couple lived in the house during the marriage. Husband worked- his income paid most of the bills. Wife had 2 children and worked part time. Divorce occurs and wife wants her house back. Most courts will consider the house to be owned evenly by both parties. They both contributed to it during the marriage (financially and non-financially). House is owned 50/50.
Last comment: must the house be sold? Not necessarily. Three possibilities exist: wife buys husband out for 50% of the equity in the home, husband buys wife out under the same terms, or house is sold and parties split equity (if any) 50/50.