Jewish World Review Jan. 13, 2000 /6 Shevat, 5760
Who gets the house?
DEAR BRUCE: Some years ago my husband insisted on buying our new home in his name alone. I disagreed, and we both signed all of the documents. Later I found out that during that time he was secretly planning on divorcing me. Would I have lost my half of the house had I not signed? -- T.A., Portage, Mich.
DEAR T.A.: If the house was acquired during the marriage and there was no prenuptial agreement or any other document to the contrary, you would have received a portion of the home. There are two different terms, which mean very different things: "equal" distribution, which is self explanatory, and "equitable" distribution, which means that the courts would have decided how much you were entitled to and how much your husband was entitled to. Any time a husband or wife jumps in with the idea to buy a home in his or her name alone, I would get very, very nervous.
DEAR BRUCE: My wife has been convinced by three different professionals that Roth IRAs are no good. Could you comment? -- H.L., Lubbock, Texas
DEAR H.L.: You've got to be kidding! For someone of your age (28), Roth IRAs are an extraordinarily good deal. I suspect that the professionals you talked to are professional insurance salesmen. While I have no problem with salespeople pushing their product, to tell anyone that Roth IRAs are no good is a serious disservice and certainly an indicator of a lack of professional standards. On that basis, I would disqualify those individuals for any type of investment information.
DEAR BRUCE: I live in a large apartment complex. Inexplicably, the management allows you to have not just one dog, but multiple dogs in one unit. Very close to my apartment are two neighbors, one with two dogs and the other with three. I have repeatedly told the management that I work at night and sleep in the daytime, and I can't sleep with dogs yapping. I went so far as to go to one of my neighbors who told me that she couldn't hear me identify myself at the door because the dogs were making too much noise. Can you believe that? I intend to move out at the end of the month, but they say that if I don't give them notice, they will sue me. What do you think? -- R.T., Orlando, Florida
DEAR R.T.: Any landlord who allows more than one pet to a household is just waiting to get his wrist slapped. The landlord has an obligation to provide you with a safe and pleasant environment. In my opinion, they have obviated any lease obligations or notification obligations that you would have had under ordinary conditions. If it means going to small claims court to recover your security, so be
Send your questions to JWR contributor Bruce Williams by clicking here. (Questions of general interest will be answered in future columns. Owing to the volume of mail, personal replies cannot be provided.) Interested in buying or selling a house? Let Bruce Williams' "House Smart" be your guide. (Sales of the book help fund JWR).
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