Dear Annie: My husband and I have been married for a couple of years; we each have children from previous relationships and no children together. Individually, we both make good incomes. He is in real estate, and I am a software programmer.
Before getting married, I (alone) purchased the home we currently reside in. I invested a large amount of cash — more than a third of the purchase price — at closing. My husband owned three investment properties before we were married.
Since our wedding, partly due to the fact that I was taking care of all living expenses, especially mortgage and utilities, he was able to purchase an additional seven properties. One issue that arose while buying these properties was that he wasn’t on title to the home he was living in, so I added his name to the title on my house so he could get a better interest rate on his investment properties.
In hindsight, I should have asked him to add me on the title to one of his properties in return, to make things more financially square, although I did ask for him to help with mortgage payments.
Fast forward to today, I have purchased two additional properties as investments, in part due to the fact that he has reached his 10-property limit. He did all the paperwork for these through his title company, and at signing, I realized he put both of us on the title, but the mortgages are in my name only.
He now wants to set up separate trusts leaving 100% of his properties to his children. The big issue we are arguing about is that he ALSO wants 50% of my three properties because, in his words, “he’s on title to these properties.” If he wants his 10 properties going 100% to his children, then in turn, I think my three properties should be included only in my trust and going 100% to my children.
Yet to smooth things over, I am willing to give him 50% of my two investment properties; however, I want my home to go 100% to me when he dies, or 100% to my children if I die before him.
I would also like one or two future investments that I finance on my own to go 100% to me after his death. However, he says that since he’s bringing me these deals, he deserves 50%. Keep in mind, he has brought other people these deals and he only charges a 5% or 10% finder’s fee. It seems like he is asking me to pay way more than his business associates solely because I am his wife.
As it stands now, 100% of his properties AND 50% of my properties go to his children when he dies while only 50% of my properties go to my children and the other 50% will go to him when I die.
He says I am being a greedy gold-digger; however, I am failing to see how I am being greedy for not wanting to give 50% of all my properties to his children when he isn’t willing to give any percentage of his properties to me or my children. It seems more like he has an attitude of “what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine.” — Am I Being Greedy or Gaslit?
Dear Gaslit: You are not being greedy at all. You are being smart, and you are not being treated fairly. Yes, he is gaslighting you; meaning, in this case, he is doing something wrong but making you feel like it is your fault. He is the one being greedy as well. You are married. Can’t you divide your properties up evenly and split them right down the middle? Or — what you had before marriage is yours, and what he had before marriage is his, and anything that you acquired during marriage is to be split down the middle.
The business about putting his name on the title of the house you bought before you were married and then not putting your name on his properties does not seem fair. He has rules for thee but not for me. Continue to fight for your rights and for the rights of your children. There is nothing greedy about you. You might want to consult a financial adviser so a third party can persuade your husband to treat you like an equal in matters of finance.