The Moneyist: I'm a stay-at-home mother. My husband needs to take $200,000 out of our home to fund his enterprise. I would like us to have a 50/50 break up however he refuses. what’s honest

Dear Quentin,

My husband and I have been married for 10 years. We both worked professionally when we married, and I left my demanding job when we had our second children.

I've been a housewife for seven years. We have three children together and my husband had one child from a previous relationship. He has given us a very comfortable life and earns good money.

There have been talks over the years that I should go back to work, but it never materialized. My husband has always been understanding and helpful. He never made me feel unappreciated and we usually make financial decisions together.

We live in North Carolina where we own a home. He's on the mortgage and I'm on the deed. Now he wants to take a HELOC ($200,000) to fund a business. I'm aware that he needs my approval and I'm all for it because I believe in him.

""Honestly he made some valid points like: I will always get 50% of anything he owns or if the business is successful and I will be the first to enjoy the lifestyle."

However, where we disagree is my stake in the business. He doesn't think I should be involved in the business. I do.

He thinks that because he is the working spouse and has made all the money over the years, he should own 100% of his stake in the company (he has a partner who will own 50%). I do not agree. I think since he's financing the business out of a community property, I should have a stake in the business too.

My main concern here is that I just don't want to stay on the sidelines. I want to make sure that I always have a stake in the company. I've heard too many stories of husbands diverting business funds elsewhere to hide them from their spouses, or diverting funds, etc.

I don't think it will happen, but we never know. At the same time, I don't want to frustrate my husband. What should I do? Let it go? What is fair and what is not?

He doesn't want me included in the partnership agreement or involved in the deal. Honestly he made some valid points like I will be the first to enjoy this lifestyle. I always get 50% of everything he owns and will also benefit if the deal is successful.

stay home mom

Dear housewife mom

When the business is successful.

Don't worry about frustrating your husband. That goes with the territory with every relationship. Some days you are frustrated. Other days he's frustrated. And other days you're both frustrated. But don't make decisions based on other people's reactions – whether negative or not. Make decisions about what you think is the right course of action. That way, whether in Hell or in High Water, you can stand above your decisions.

North Carolina is an equitable state. So if you get divorced, your assets will be divided fairly and fairly depending on your circumstances. Marital property—property acquired during the marriage—is generally shared equally. During marriage, even in a happy marriage, it is difficult to justify allowing only one party to have full control over an investment being drained from the family home.

You are a working stay-at-home mom. You put as many hours into caring for your family, if not more, by raising three children. You have every right to be involved in any business that uses community property — especially money from your family home — and you have every right to have agency and a voice in that business you help fund. You both bear the financial risk.

A HELOC will provide that company with a large sum of money at a relatively low rate of interest – certainly lower than a personal loan – with a flexible amount of time to repay the loan. But it also comes with significant risks: your home serves as collateral and interest rates rise. We also face an uncertain year with the double-edged sword of a global pandemic and rising inflation.

You can only make an informed decision if you have a say in the business. Think carefully. As an equal partner, you are under no obligation to follow the plan.

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