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WILL A SPOUSE BE GIVEN CREDIT FOR SEPARATE FUNDS INVESTED IN A HOUSE?

There are many situations where one party contributes separate funds to the acquisition of a home. Once separate funds are contributed to joint property which is used in the marriage, the separate funds are deemed “commingled” in the marital estate, thus making them subject to award in divorce. An examination of the decisions on this point leads to complete confusion.

There are just as many cases which affirm an equal distribution as there are cases which take the separate contribution into account. The Court has said that an exact “credit” for separate funds is not called for. In the recent case of Gordon v. Gordon, NO. 2010–CA–01227–COA, (App. Ct. Miss. 1/17/2012) the court of appeals affirmed a Chancellor’s award of an exact credit for $70,000 of separate money invested in the marital home.

The moral of the story seems to be that Chancellors have vast discretion in determining how to deal with separate money contributed to a joint home and there is no way to make a prediction in such cases.