Regarding reclaiming gifts from failed engagement, am I able to recoup the down payment for a house along with costs associated with furnishing it?

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Regarding reclaiming gifts from failed engagement, am I able to recoup the down payment for a house along with costs associated with furnishing it?

My fiancee’ and I were engaged for 2 years. We purchased a house together that is in her name. One stipulation of the purchase was that I had to stay in the house for a year because of the financial assistance I provided her, the $5,000 down payment. We also split the cost of furnishing the house.

Asked on May 8, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Agreements regarding real estate have to be in writing: if there was a written agreement about your ability to live there or recovering costs, you can enforce that agreement in court if necessary, such as by a "breach of contract" lawsuit.
Without an enforceable written agreement, all you are entitled to is your share of the equity from the home (50%, if there are two owners) and no additional compensation for a downpayment or renovcation costs; and if you and nshe cannot agree as to what do with the house, either one of you (as an owner) could bring a type of lawsuit traditionally called an action "for partition" (your state may have a differet name for it) to get a court order requiring that the home be sold and the proceeds, after paying the costs of the legal action, costs of sale, and paying off any mortgage, be split between you.


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