General Question

Eggie's avatar

Can a divorced woman get everything?

Asked by Eggie (5086 points ) January 3rd, 2014

I was at the Barber Shop yesterday and they were talking about a man who worked and built a nice upstairs and downstairs house from scratch and his wife divorced him and she got the house and the kids. Can someone explain to me how this works? I personally think that that is horrible, knowing that a man could build a house from the dirt, brick by brick and a woman could just take that because of a divorce. I am ignorant to how the law works so could someone explain that part to me?

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21 Answers

Smitha's avatar

I belong to India and there the marriage laws have become more women friendly.The Union Cabinet has made an amendment to the marriage laws, which, in the event of a divorce, would give the wife an equal share of not only the property acquired by the husband during or before the marriage, but also his inherited or inheritable property. But at time I find this unfair. Such laws encourage divorces and the wives would start creating situations leading to divorce within a short span of marriage, with a view inherit the husband’s property.
The best course of action would be to find out who is the reason behind the divorce. It is very necessary to take into account the circumstances leading to separation. If it is because of the wife’s fault, she should not be eligible for share. If the divorce is taking place because of the husband, then he should give compensation depending on the duration of the marriage.

JLeslie's avatar

In the US some states have a 50/50 rule and some don’t. Meaning anything gained during the marriage will be split 50/50 including property, savings, even retirement account savings. Other states weigh in if there was one person who was the main breadwinner.

Let’s use the 50/50 example for simplicity. Let’s say the house is worth $200, but only have $50k in equity in it and the couple has $100k in the bank. They each basically own $25k of the house and $50k of the savings. The agreement might be for the wife to stay in the house, so she will wind up owning it outright, but she only gets $25k of the savings so the total value of all their money is split equally.

During a divorce sometimes the couple agrees on how to split things up fairly easily, sometimes it is a big battle.

In your example the dad probably agreed to give up the house, because his children would have less disruption if his wife and kids could stay living there.

Vincentt's avatar

Here in the Netherlands, I think the rationale is often that when one of the marital partners has given up a career for e.g. taking care of the kids, with the other partner providing income, that commitment means that the income generator is obliged to keep providing for the ex (and potential children) for a while after the separation to compensate for the difference between the income the ex would have had if he/she had continued working, and the actual income after the separation. In practice, the provider is often the man.

Judi's avatar

You don’t know the whole story. I have a friend who bitches and moans at how his wife got everything and how he’s hurting then goes out and spends 30k on a watch. I love him dearly but my sympathy is wearing thin.

gailcalled's avatar

Hearsay and gossip are just that. Every divorce is different. You need to talk to the parties in question rather than making any vague assumptions.

marinelife's avatar

OK, first you are looking at it wrong. They built the house and they had the children. The man has a financial responsibility to the children.

If one partner gets the house, it gets valued and the other partner gets the equivalent of half of it in other assets. It is viewed in the context of the couple’s joint assets.

Chances are that guy did not build the house alone anyway.

tom_g's avatar

In 1983 someone was in a barbershop and heard about a guy who fixed up and practically rebuilt a house only to lose it and the kids.

The funny thing about hearing crap like this is that it means nothing. It doesn’t reflect the fact that the woman had given up a career in order to raise their 2 children in that house. Barbershop stories of this scenario also didn’t include the 1+ years the guy had been essentially absent from his family’s life so he could have an affair with another married woman. The story also left out the court struggles that were involved when the guy decided it would be perfectly acceptable for his kids and mother of his children to be fucking poor as shit and fatherless for the rest of their childhood.

Barbershops are good for haircuts. That’s about it.

zenvelo's avatar

It’s called Division of Community Property. The court looks at all the assets from the marriage, and divides them evenly. She didn’t get “everything”; she got the house.

He probably has the 401K, the investments, the insurance policy, and some of the furniture.

And custody of the kids is based on what is best for the kids. It has been historically slanted towards the mother, but that is changing. And if she got sole custody, he either didn’t fight for shared custody, or he is a douchebag to his kids.

Response moderated
tom_g's avatar

@Eggie: ”@tom_g Assuming that all of that happened, that makes it right for the woman to get everything? That is fair justice?”

First of all, all I was trying to say is that hearing a story in a barbershop is like not hearing the story at all. You know nothing about what happened.

Now, to my story. This story is simply from my perspective. You might as well be getting your hair cut right now. When I talk about my father and his abandonment of my sister and I for a good part of my childhood, I am clearly only providing my side of the story. When my father got his haircut back then, he likely would talk about his bitch ex-wife who ended up with the house and the kids.

The real story, however, is often (or always) a lot more complicated than that. But what I see is that my father was able to walk away from a huge responsibility (my sister, my mother, and I). He was able to do so, and we paid the price.

It seems that your barbershop story seems to have triggered something in you. Do you think current divorce settlement laws are unfair? In what way? What do you propose as an alternative?

Eggie's avatar

@tom_g I am not saying that she may have been unfarily treated in the relationship, but yes it triggered something in me because I have pictured that happening to me for the fact being that I have land and I am thinking about building my house one day.

Just like you I have experiences too, where I have first handedly witnessed a man that built a house for his wife and as soon as he was finished, she started making life very uncomfortable with him and eventually he had to leave the house with her and the kids. In that situation, I admit, that he was not perfect, but he did not abuse and neglect his wife or his kids, yet she ran him out, because the land was her father’s( who did not provide for her by building a house for her, but he did) and took in another man. With that situation, you cannot tell me that I do not know what I am talking about, because I was there and I know the whole story.

I think that the law is in too much favor of the woman without just cause and proper investigations should be done before making judgments especially where it rules that one party gets everything. I am not being biased and I am definitely not saying that yes in most relationships like that the woman is the more likely one to be the victim, but all I am saying is that in some circumstances it may not be so and that we must be very careful in pointing a finger where judgment is concerned. I cannot really say that it is unfair, because I do not fully know the procedure of the thing. Is there an investigation that must be done before? Does this apply only if the woman has contributed money in the assets? Must there be a witness? That is why I asked the question. I do not want any conflict, and I think I put my comment in the wrong way. Thats why I removed it.

Response moderated
JLeslie's avatar

@Eggie The laws are usually not in favor of any gender anymore. My girlfriend pays her husband child support, because she makes more than him and they have equal custody.

Your assets you have have before your marriage are yours, and if you want to further protect them you can get a prenuptial agreement. The 50/50 rule is for the gain during the marriage, but overtime if funds are comingled they become everyone’s funds. Even inheritence can be fuzzy if funds get comingled. States without the 50/50 rule do evaluate who was earning what and some other things, but they still give mney and part of the wealth to a nonworking spouse.

In most states the primary dwelling, the house where you and your wife live, usually has some laws that protect the wife even if her name is not on the deed. Mostly it protects her if you die that she has at least some ownership and that she can’t be forced to leave. Like if a man wills his house to his mistress, in Florida that doesn’t fly. The mistress can’t just move in and throw the widow out. Find out the laws in your state if you are concerned.

The man in your story might have been fine giving up the house, you don’t know the whole story.

jca's avatar

At work, we always say there are 3 sides to every story: each side and the truth (the truth is the third side). You heard one side. If you heard the other side, it would probably be totally different and probably provide explanations for why things ended up like that.

Maybe the wife got less cash in exchange for the house. Maybe she entered the marriage with more money than the husband which could be why she got the house. Maybe he was a drunk so could not take the kids. Maybe he didn’t want to have the kids full time because he has to work. Maybe it was discussed with the kids and they preferred being with the mom. You can’t guess and the possibilities are endless.

janbb's avatar

Usually, nobody is happy with a divorce settlement. No-one gets everything.

YARNLADY's avatar

Actually, yes, a divorced woman could conceivable get everything, if she owned it all before they got marrid. Diorced people can leave a marriage with whatever they came to the marriage with.

RocketGuy's avatar

My aunt tried to get everything when she filed for divorce from my uncle. This included a house in San Diego and a condo in Honolulu. After a long battle (and a thoroughly annoyed judge), she got full use of the house until the daughter turned 18, then had to sell the house and give him ½ the proceeds. They had to sell the condo to pay lawyers’ fees. If she had settled for 50/50 in the first place, my uncle would be enjoying his condo in Hawaii.

chyna's avatar

My ex-husband got everything. I had worked hard for the house and put my money down on it, it was all my furniture that I already had, my hands that painted every room in that house. I gave it all to him, signed it all over to him, to get out of the marriage.
You don’t know the whole story of any situation. He probably told people he bought me out and that is simply not true.

DWW25921's avatar

Women usually win unless you get a fantastic (at least 20k) lawyer.

Eggie's avatar

@chyna Played it like a good chess player. Material value is nothing compared to your goal.

josie's avatar

Yes.
My ex wife got just about everything.
And it was worth every penny.

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