No. The divorce extinguishes the dower interest rights you have specifically in the divorce documents. Typically, we have a release of dower in the documents, and upon your divorce, it extinguishes the dower rights.
There are some interesting exceptions. In domestic law there is also legal separation rather than divorce, which is sometimes preferred for religious reasons.
Couples might also choose separation over divorce because health insurance is expensive for an individual to obtain on his or her own. If you are technically still married, as you would be in a legal separation, you may be able to keep your spouse on your health insurance.
The interesting part of that is that the dower will remain unless the legal separation documents specifically provide that the dower is no longer effective in the separation.
Often, the dower protects a spouse who is not technically the owner, especially when they are getting divorced, because the other spouse cannot sell the property. There is less of a fear that the spouse will sell the property and take the money and run.
There have been cases where, in a closing, the seller on the deed realizes his wife, who he is divorcing, needs to sign off on the closing. Suddenly, he is in a situation where he is in the middle of a dispute in the divorce, and his wife has all of the leverage because she isn’t going to sign off on losing the dower unless he agrees to her terms in the divorce.
In real estate closings in Ohio, if people are not aware of this restriction, there can be problems in the divorce.
We had a case where a wife wasn’t on the deed and the realtor only got the husband’s signature because the deed had him as the owner of the property. When the real estate sale got to closing, the wife refused to sign off on the closing documents because she didn’t agree with the sales price of the property.. While she wasn’t technically on the title, she still had her dower interest. The title company couldn’t go further with the closing.
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