Generally speaking a marital residence that is the separate property of
one party to the marriage is not subject to equitable distribution without
a showing that it has been transformed or transmuted into marital property.
A spouses contribution toward the other spouses separate property marital
residence alone does not mean that the marital residence has been transformed
into marital property subject to distribution at the time of a divorce.
Rather it must be shown that an increase in value has occurred for the
property from the date of the marriage until the commencement of the action
If an increase in value has been shown to have occurred and that increase
is attributable to contributions or efforts of the other spouse then that
appreciation is subject to equitable distribution. Each case is fact specific
and an attorney should always be consulted to determine what is and what
is not separate property during a divorce, and whether or not property
has been transformed or transmuted into marital property during the marriage.
Sometimes this is not as easy to prove to a court as one may believe and
expert witnesses must be utilized who may need to prepare reports.