If my partner purchased our home with cash and both our names are on the deed, what are my rights to it should we split?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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If my partner purchased our home with cash and both our names are on the deed, what are my rights to it should we split?

About 2 years ago, my boyfriend and I decided to buy a home. He had the

financial ability to pay for the home outright but have the deed in both our names. Our agreement was I would be soley responsible for the household bills for the 1st year and split the property tax bill quarterly. This was agreed upon due to the fact he owned another home and was going to take the year to

move his belongings and make necessary repairs to his old house and decide to rent or sell. Now, 2 years have passed and until 3 months ago I was still paying all the bills alone. His kids live in this home, he mostly stays but spends a majority of his time at his old house. He never legally changed his or his kids address to our co-owned home. We are splitting. I need to know what my rights are. I will not be staying in the house permanently but I am not leaving until I get what I believe I am entitled to.

Asked on July 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Vermont


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If this went to court, a court would generally start by giving you each half the equity (assuming there is any) in the home. It would then most likely adjust that by the amount that each of you paid. For example: say the home was bought in cash by him for $150k; is now worth $180k; and that you have paid over the last two or so years $20k or so in house-related bills and expenses which he has not. He therefore paid $130k ($150k purchase price - the $20k in bills in expenses you, not he, paid) more than you in this example, and so should get $130k more from the home to be equitable (fair). A court might therefore split the $180k equity as $155k to him, $25k to you, since then he would receive $130k more than you, to reflect the excess he paid over what you have paid. If he paid less and you paid more, your share would typically be more. Again, this would be a typical accepted outcome, since courts try to do "equity"--to be fair--in cases like this, and that means acknowledging when one party has paid more than the other. You might use this principal as a guide when trying to negotiate what you should get--it is better (faster, less expensive, less stressful) if you and he can work this out voluntarily without getting a court involved.

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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