What is the law regarding the rights of unmarried homeowners?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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What is the law regarding the rights of unmarried homeowners?

I am on the title and the mortgage payment; she is just on the title. If we were to break up, what is the protocol for moving forward with the house who owns it, who owes what, etc.? We both put down some money and have paid the mortgages somewhat together I’d say I’ve paid about 60% We’ve been fighting a lot and I don’t want to break up but I need to be realistically prepared if something should happen what is the legal protocol.

Asked on October 18, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If you're both on the title, you both are owners and generally would each get 50% of any equity or proceeds from sale. The fact that you only you are on the mortgage merely means that only you, not her, have to pay the bank (she *can* pay, as she has--but the bank could only sue you for nonpayment, not her, since only you are a party to the mortgage). Having paid somewhat more than her does not increase your ownership of the home if you're both equally on the title.

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