What are my rights if a woman and I have been living together for 2 1/2 years and we built a house together but are now breaking up?

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What are my rights if a woman and I have been living together for 2 1/2 years and we built a house together but are now breaking up?

She paid cash for the house; I paid all month-to-month bills. I’m on the deed to the house along with her.

Asked on December 28, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Ohio

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that if you are both on the deed, then you have equal rights to the home. That is unless, there exists some side agreement outlining who gets what for each of their contributions. Absent that, your now ex has no more right to the property than you do.

The easiest thing will be for you to either sell the property to a third party or have the one who wants the home buy the other co-owner out. If one party does not want to sell, the other co-owner can force what is called a "partition" of the property. This is a legal remedy employed in cases where ownership matters cannot be agreed to by co-owners. However, since a single-family home cannot be partitioned (i.e. divided) as a practical matter, the court can order a "sale in lieu of partition", by which the property will be sold and an equitable discributuion of the proceeds made to each co-owner.

At this point, you may want to consult directly with a real estate attoney in your area; they can best advise you as to your rights/responsibilities under your own state law.


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