Co-Ownership of Home during and after Divorce

Our separation is amicable and we are cooperating fully. We own a home together in which our 3 children reside. We are in agreement that it will be best to continue to co-own the home together for our children. Less disruption to them.

Question is…How do we denote that on FL-160? Split 50/50? But does that imply we will be selling the home?

Thank you!

Hi James,

I would note the “split” of 50/50 on the FL-160. The form is not going to be able to capture ALL the details of your agreement, but by establishing the 50/50 split, it’s obvious that the intent is to share in the home.

Congratulations on working together and putting your children first during this difficult time in your lives.

Hi Cristin
My spouse purchased our home under her name
1 week before we were married. From that point on I was giving her $ to cover half the mortgage.

My understanding is that I am entitled to 30% of the equity in the house. Is that based just on the amount we put into it or is it also based on current market value. Ie; the purchase price was $420,000 and it’s worth $720,000.

Thank you Cristin.


There are a lot of facts missing here, so I won’t be able to provide you with a specific answer.

In general, when there is property purchased prior to marriage, it is considered the buying person’s separate property. When community funds (i.e. money earned during marriage, regardless of which spouse earns it) are used to pay down the loan balance, the community is entitled to two things: 1) reimbursement for all money that went to the acquisition of the home (in other words, not mortgage interest, property taxes, or insurance); and 2) a share of the appreciation in the property from the date of marriage until the date the equity is divided. This means that any increase in value (appreciation) must also be apportioned between the separate property and the community property estates based on what was contributed/paid. This is called a “Moore/Marsden” calculation.

To perform a Moore/Marsden calculation, you need to answer the following questions:

  • what was the original purchase price;
  • what was the original mortgage and down payment;
  • what was the property worth at the date of marriage;
  • what was owed to the lender at that time;
  • what was the property worth at the date of separation;
  • what was owed at that time;
  • what is the property worth on the date of the equity is to be divided (we often refer to this generically as “time of trial”); and
  • what is the principal pay-off at that time?

The actual formula is as follows:

  1. Purchase Price
  2. Amount of Down Payment
  3. Amount of payments on loan principal made with separate funds
  4. Fair Market value at date of marriage
  5. Amount of payments on loan principal made with community funds
  6. Fair market value at time of division
  7. Subtract line 1 from line 4
  8. Subtract line 4 from line 6
  9. Divide line 5 by line 1
  10. Multiply line 8 by line 9
  11. Subtract line 10 from line 8
  12. Add lines 2, 3, 7, and 11
  13. Add lines 5 and 10

my wife was able to refinance our home at 85% of its appraised value by herself. I signed a quitclaim and we split the equity in half so we can pay our individual credit cards/loans.
I moved out thereafter and have been preparing my paperwork for the divorce. My intended separate date is when I left the property, is this correct? On the 15% that was not included in the refinance, do I still have any part of that? Should I put the property on the community property form? Thank you.

The date of separation is your subjective opinion that the marriage is permanently over and supported by your objective behavior. While a move out date can certainly meet that definition, it’s not the “only” possible separation date. As for the refinance/equity question, I’m not quite sure I understand what your wife did. If the equity (defined as FMV minus debt) has not yet been equally split, you MAY have a claim for the outstanding share. The safest way to protect the claim would have been to wait until the divorce proceedings began, but hopefully your wife will do the right thing.