If my name is not on the title/mortgage to a house, how do I prove my co-ownership of it?

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If my name is not on the title/mortgage to a house, how do I prove my co-ownership of it?

I own a house with a boyfriend. We are splitting up. My name is not on the mortgage or title because I own a separate house independently and we got a better rate. What do I need to do to prove ownership and get my part of the house?

Asked on June 14, 2011 under Real Estate Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to consult with a real estate attorney. Unfortunately, you may *not* own the home--after all, to begin with, your name is not on the title, which immediately means you are not one of the owners. You also say that your name is not on the mortgage, which eliminates one of the more uncommon--though still difficult--ways to establish an "equitable interest" in the home. If you have paid significant amounts towards the house, you *may* be able to establish that you are therefore entitled to some portion of it, but this is a very difficult case to make--not only are starting at a serious detriment, by not being on any of the documentation which establishes ownership of or an interest in a home, but to the extent that your payments could be characterized as either "rent"--i.e. paying something in exchange for being able to live there--or as a gift to your boyfriend, you will not have any interest in the house. It's worth consulting with an attorney, who can evaluate all the specifics in detail (bring with you any documentation relating to the home, your payments, any agreements with the boyfriend, etc.), but understand that paying money without any documentation showing you are entitled to something in return is not a good place to start.


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