My wife says she's NOT my wife?!!!

mister_hMarch 8, 2007

We've been married for 7 years, and now she's saying she's not my wife and I can't divorce her.

We've been having a marital problem for a couple of years and she says I can just cleanly walk out of the house if I want. Or she can just throw me out on the street if she wants to, according to her. She says she found out that I married her about a month before my previous marriage/divorce was finalized 7 years ago. Therefore, our current marriage (relationship) is not legal, not binding to the law in anyways. The issue is the house. We bought the house together about 5 years ago (both of our names on the title that time) but when we refinanced 3 years ago she put her name only saying that my bad credit is causing a high interest rate. Now she's saying the house is soley hers since my name is not on the title and we are not legally married.

If I really married her before my previous marriage was finalized, is what she's saying true that I have no legal right on the house?

Any opinion or advice?

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sylviatexas1

Get a lawyer right now.

(but I don't know of a way in the world that someone can delete another person's name from the deed to real property without the consent of that other person.)

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 2:36PM
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mister_h

My name was not removed or deleted... I think my name was not just added during the refinancing - like she was buying the house alone.
Yes, I will need a lawyer, a good one, for sure.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 3:06PM
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carla35

Sounds like maybe he consented to it...

but, he may have a case for fraud since it sounds like she did it knowing they were not married.

But, I gotta ask the OP.. how would you not know that you weren't divorced yet????? And, why would your wife know the divorce didn't go through until later... possible mail fraud, especially if she "wasn't" your wife, she really shouldn't have been taking your mail.

I'd talk to a lawyer. Obviously, if you refinanced, the house isn't paid off so you may not be out all that much anyway. Depending on your loan, you may have mainly been paying interest anyway. How much have you actually paid off on the house?

She sounds like a character...knows you weren't married and never mentioned it...just went about trying to get money out of you...very calculating...

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 3:07PM
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coolmama

yeah,I'm with carla35 on this one...how could you NOT know you werent divorced yet? Dont you have papers or something to prove when it was finalized?
You need to find out where your wife found this info out from.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2007 at 4:50PM
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popi_gw

Don't get ahead of yourself, and worry about things that may not happen.

Its imperative that you find out where you stand on the marriage issue, its only then, you can decide what to do next.

You need to become more aware of your rights.

Knock on the door of a good lawyer.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 1:15AM
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mister_h

popi,
Yes, you are so right. I shouldn't jump on to do anything yet. No big fight or issue anythng like that at this time. When I posted my concern in something *freeadvicelaw.com*, usual advcie is always "get a lawyer" from the website moderator and nothing else from anybody else. It sounds like the forum was run by bunch of lawyers trying to hook a client.

I will find out if my domestic partner (can't call her wife... she says) has any intention and/or idea to improve our relationship first since I do. I am willing to change myself and accomodate her needs as long as we can meet somewhere in the middle ground to negotiate.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 1:25PM
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alphacat

I don't know what state you're in, but my experience in New Jersey is that a deed is filed only when the house changes ownership, and refinancing a mortgage is not a change in ownership.

It may be that her name is not on the mortgage, but I'll bet that if you go to wherever the official mortgage records are (here, it's in the county seat), you'll find that there is still a deed there with both your names on it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2007 at 3:15PM
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micke

alphacat is right, find out any info on the actual records, not the refinancing papers.
also do you have your papers on your divorce?????
Who pays the bills on this house? If you have both been I cannot see how this was a matter of her scheming on this from the beginning just to get your money. Maybe she felt that their was some problems with the marriage, then she got her ducks all in a row before you did so she would not be the one on the street.
but it is awful mean of her to be telling you she could throw you out on the street anytime, is this in the heat of the moment during a fight? Until you check records yourself this could just be verbal assault flung at you while fighting.
If you did marry her before your divorce was finalized, she is correct. The marriage is not legal, but in some states if you live with a person for a certain amount of years in the eye of the law you are termed a "common law marriage" and it is just as if you were married.
Call a lawyer as everyone else has said, they will be able to tell you everything you need to know in your state.
I know of 4 couples that are not married and they still call each other husband and wife, she sounds like a piece of work.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2007 at 11:47PM
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carla35

but micke, if she's known for 7 years and took advantage of the knowledge 3 years ago with the refinancing, that's scheming on her part. What kind of "spouse" keeps that type of thing a secret for so long and takes advantage of it with a house refinancing (which it sounds like she knowingly did)...that's not getting your ducks in a role or making sure you're taken care of if you separate...that's fraud! If the house was "theirs", it was theirs, not hers to try to take for herself. She could be looking at bigger problems than not having a nice house to live in.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fraud

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 9:41AM
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sweeby

The mortgage and home ownership are two separate deals. When we bought our home, I had a 'conventional' job and my husband was self-employed, so it was much more convenient for the mortgage to be in my name only. (The paperwork requirements for a self-employed person are truly nasty.) But the bank had no problem having the deed in both our names and the mortgage only in mine.

Well - That's not completely true. Actually, they put the deed in my name and our minor son's name by mistake. (Son was not quite 5 at the time.) Getting it changed was a bit of a PITA because they kept wanting our son to sign papers agreeing with the change in title, but he wasn't old enough to write his name...

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 3:40PM
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micke

carla, so true, so true.. had not thought of it in that light really.
What is wrong with the world nowdays? I would be so hurt if my husband had ever tried to do that to me:(
Everything is in both our names, including this hulking beast of a monster truck that I really dislike, but he insisted that it was 'ours' and he wanted my name on the title with his. We share everything. I guess sometimes I just can't understand why spouses treat their better half the way they do (and mister h, you are definitly the better half for putting up with this so long, you deserve some sort of award:)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2007 at 11:54PM
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margenorman

I am a lawyer in California and the reason nobody can help you so far is that you have left out information that is important.
If you were divorced in California go down to the courthouse and pull the file. Look at the entry of judgment--what is the date of the divorce? Whats the date of the new marriage? If you were divorced in another state, get the record, its not difficult.
Bring that info to a family law attorney and they can tell you what your rights are. There is no common law marriage in this state but there may be some help anyway. If it was an error in the record, maybe it could be corrected.
You are not a domestic partner unless you register as one in this state and there are restrictions.
You may need to approach this from a real estate legal standpoint, if its not a valid marriage. The name on the deed probably was changed during refinance, it could happen. You probably signed a bunch of papers you didn't read, but the next time you sign anything that gets notarized and you have to put your thumbprint in the notary book in California I suggest you go out for coffee instead.
If you have a realtor friend, have them pull all of the deeds back to when the property was purchased. Take all of this stuff to a family law attorney who also knows something about real estate.
All of these documents are important, no attorney can give you any advice until they see them.
By the way, its not so easy to throw you out of the house.
I would want to know why your credit was bad and hers wasn't. Don't you file joint tax returns?
I suspect there is a lot of paperwork that you never look at. Start now.
Pick an attorney near where you live, this is an involved problem and you need to solve it now.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2007 at 7:44PM
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mandy_g

It sounds like good advise from margenorman. One thing that you may want to mention (and I'm sure you will) to this lawyer is the fact that she cheated on you - in your own home no less. Aren't you the same guy who posted here about your wife cheating on you not too long ago?

Sorry to say this, but it sounds like your wife has more problems than just your "maybe" not being divorced at the time of your marriage to her. Maybe she needs a therapist.

marge - since you are a lawyer, how sticky will this get? Did she really cheat on him if they weren't really married to start with?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2007 at 7:00PM
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marge727

We haven't heard anything more from him. Cheating doesn't matter in a California divorce, or in real estate litigation.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2007 at 7:10PM
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bushduh

Marge, what do you mean 'cheating' doesn't matter in California Divorce? Couldn't it be a reason for divorce? Another question for you. When can one annul marriage in CA? What is the difference between annul and divorce? Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 11:34AM
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asolo

In most jurisdictions you basically don't need a "reason" to get divorced. If you want out, you can get out. I am unaware of any recent case in which a divorce was refused by any court. They long ago decided it was a waste of time to get into judging any of that. "No Fault" sort of set up these days. In years past the courts insisted upon justification from an offended party. With few exceptions that's no longer required. There was a period of time when various euphemisms ("mental cruelty" or "irreconcilable differences" for examples) were used to cover the ground for required "cause" but even that is pretty much gone today. There's still lots of testimony taken regarding accusations of "fault" in attempting to slant property divisions one way or another but unless there are children involved, the court really doesn't much care. Except for cases with children, all the court cares about is some concept of equity/fairness in dividing the assets.

"Annulment" means ruling that a marriage was not valid in the first place. Pretty rare, but can be accomplished in some special cases. "Divorce" acknowledges there was a valid marriage but that it will be ended by decree. Entitlements of the parties are different in each case depending on circumstances.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2007 at 12:31PM
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marge727

The difference between annullment and divorce is that with an anullment its like you were never married. Fraud is one grounds for annullment but its difficult to prove. I have gotten annullments for clients but spouse concealed a major criminal past or a pattern of embezzlement against them and it was discovered soon after the marriage.
I don't agree with asolo that there is lots of testimony regarding "fault" in court but I don't know where he practices law. I practice in California which was one of the early "no fault" states for divorce. Property division has to do with money. Spousal & child support has to do with money. Thats what the testimony will be about.
One reason to try to get an annullment is if your religion does not support divorce, but that is not grounds to get it.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 11:04PM
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cupojoe

I am a real estate agent in Ohio. The laws are different every where. But it sounds like your name should still be on the deed. Her name is the only on on the mortgage. If this is the case, you are in a great position. Depending on what state you are in, and if your marriage is deemed legal, the house would be considered a post-marital asset, meaning it is half yours no matter what. Consult an attorney in your area to clarify your states laws.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2007 at 1:35PM
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