Question: I purchased a home in Casa Grande. My wife and I were married a year later. All of the monthly mortgage payments and repair costs since our marriage have been made from our joint checking account. My wife says that she is unhappy, and that she talked to an attorney who said she has a lien on our home now even though she was never added to the title. Does my wife have a lien on our home now?
Answer: Probably. Although the title to the home is in your name only, the monthly mortgage payments and repair costs made from the joint checking account were community property. At the time of the sale of the home, the escrow company will require your wife to approve the sale because your wife has a lien on the home for half of the total monthly mortgage payments and repair costs since the marriage. For example, if you had paid $30,000 in mortgage payments and repairs before marriage, and since your marriage the mortgage payments and repairs have been $15,000, for a total of $45,000 in mortgage payments and repairs, the proceeds of the sale of the home would be divided by the ratio of two-thirds to you, and one-third to you and your wife, based on $30,000 of your payments made prior to marriage, and $15,000 of community payments after marriage made by you and your wife. If your Casa Grande home’s sale proceeds were $75,000, you alone would be entitled to two-thirds of the sales proceeds, or $50,000. You and your wife would each be entitled to one-half of the remaining $25,000, or $12,500. Therefore, you should be entitled to $62,500 from the $75,000 proceeds, and your wife should be entitled to $12,500.