What to do if an unmarried couple have a mortgage together on a house and now want to separate?

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What to do if an unmarried couple have a mortgage together on a house and now want to separate?

How are assets divided, how would the house be sold or mortgage transferred to one party? What type of lawyer is needed?

Asked on February 8, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Assets are divided however they like or decide to--if you are asking what a court would likely conclude, in the event the couple cannot agree and they litigate (or the couple simply want guidance), the answer is that

1) Each person would take with them any assets they brought into the living arrangment;

2) Each person would solely own anything he or she could prove he or she bought entirely with his or her own money and did not gift, in whole or in part, to the other;

3) For joint purchases or assets, they would likely each have a share of the value proportionate to what he or she paid for it.

The home can be sold by the two of them--all that is required is their agreement to sell it. Or one can buy it from the other, including at favorable  terms. The mortgage cannot be assumed (taken over) by either, unless the bank allows it--more likely, the one buying the home would need to refinance in his/her sole name.

For the house and mortgage, a real estate lawyer would be best; the same attorney can most likely handle any matters that arise with other assets, as long as matters are not too contentious. If there is significant conflict, a family law attorney might be a better choice to help.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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