What are my rights regarding a jointly owned home?

My ex-boyfriend and I own a home together. However, last year, he chose to start another relationship. Since that time, I have left the home because of the mental anguish of watching him maintain this relationship while I was living there. I have been in the process of removing my items from the house. For the items that we acquired together, how do we split them up? Also, can he have me arrested for entering the home that I am still paying half of the mortgage on to remove these items?

Asked on January 14, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

1) If you are on the title of the home you are an owner. An owner has the right to enter, occupy, access, use, etc. the property. He cannot exclude you from property you own: you have the same equal right to the home and to access it as he has.
2) You can take all of your separate property (anything you bought solely with your own money or which was given as a gift only to you) at will.
3) Anything the two of you bought together (i.e. both paid for), you would have a half interest in. It should be split 50-50 (e.g. you take 1/2 the items, with 1/2 the total value; you and he sell these items and split the proceeds; one of you buys out the other's interest; etc.). The problem is, if you and he can't voluntarily work out the terms of this, you'd have to get a court involved to determine who gets what--that is, bring a lawsuit. This can be costly, both economically and in terms of time; you are much better off negotiating with him (possibly using the threat ofa lawsuit) and working it out voluntarily, even if that means accepting less than you might be entitled to in order to resolve the situation and avoiding court.
4) Anything he separately owns is (including any gifts you gave him), of course, his.

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