With divorces on the rise, a common situation that appears with divorces is when there is one spouse that handles the home improvements. For example, one spouse could have spent some money to upgrade a home roof. In such a case you need to ask if the spouse will be reimbursed or not.
To determine who should receive improvement reimbursements, consider the following:
- Who owned the property before the divorce?
- Who enjoys the work of managing home improvements?
- Were separate funds or community funds used by the spouse?
What Do Courts think about Divorce Home Repairs?
Although state laws do vary, the court normally rules based on some pretty simple guidelines.
If there is one spouse that is making an improvement to own property:
- When community funds were used, the community will receive a reimbursement.
- When community funds were not used, the other party is not going to collect on property value increase.
When that one spouse made improvements to the property of the other spouse:
- If separate funds were contributed to improve property owned by the other spouse, reimbursement may possible.
- When community funds were utilized, there are some states that see this improvement as being a gift.
In the event that one spouse makes improvements to a shared property, the court normally makes the assumption that the improvement had the purpose of benefiting communal property. Because of this, property is going to be equally distributed among the parties.
Other Factors to consider with Divorce Home Repairs
A challenging issue that appears when distributing home improvement costs is determining property value before and after improvements. Home appraisers are normally consulted in order to make appraisal calculations. This is especially needed when only one of the spouses spent the money on making improvements.
Courts also think about if home improvements converted the separate properties into a community property. This is mainly true when a property retains separate property characteristics. Also, there are home improvements that are not going to increase property value. Home improvements can also decrease property value. For example, when homeowner association rules are broken, the improvement can lead to a property value drop.
As mentioned above each divorce home situation varies, and we recommend you discuss the matter with your attorney before seeking any reimbursement.