I got married in 1965. Before I got married, I owned an apartment, which my wife and I have lived in all our married life. After we married I started my own business. Our children are grown up and live away. I am considering divorce. My wife has never worked outside the home. If we split up would my wife be entitled to anything from the business and home ?By: דיאנה שאלתיאל•Published on: 27 June, 2022
Assuming that you never made an agreement regarding property, the property rights of a couple who married before 1974, when the Spouses’ Property Relations Act of 1973 came into force, would be bound by common law principles. The act would not apply to you.
The main common law principle is based on the legal assumption of marital partnership in property – and the wife is entitled to half of the property acquired during the course of the marriage, providing the couple lived together under one roof and both put effort into the relationship, regardless of whether the wife worked inside the home or out of it, and regardless of in whose name the property is registered. The wife is also equally responsible for any of its debts, including business debts. A couple marrying before 1974 do not have to wait until they divorce or one of them dies to divide up their property if it is registered in one name only. The side in whose name the property is not registered can apply to the family court for a judgment declaring his/her rights and for the division of their property
Accordingly, if you were to split up, your wife would be entitled to 50% of the family home and the business. Regarding the family home, this holds even if you owned it before your marriage, providing you have been married for many years.
Incidentally, if the property owned before the marriage by either party is a holiday apartment, this would remain that party’s excusive property. This is not the case with the marital home which becomes joint property by virtue of the family living there for a long period.