What are my options if I was with the same woman for 15 years and we built a house but now we have split up?

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What are my options if I was with the same woman for 15 years and we built a house but now we have split up?

She wanted the house and I did not, so in a gentleman’s agreement he said she would give me half the value when it was sold. Now she is not selling or moving. I would at least like half the value for all the work I did building it and residing and roofing it twice. What about all the years I paid on it?

Asked on June 17, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You may be able to state a viable legal claim for a share of the value of the house based on breach of contract (violation of the agreement between you, that if you did work and/or paid for things, you'd get a share of the value; though note that sometimes, contracts in respect to real estate or for large amounts of money have to be in writing to be enforceable, as per the "Statute of Frauds"; it is worth stating the claim, but be aware there may be an issue) and on unjust enrichment--that it would be inequitable, or unjust, to allow her to be enriched by the value of your contribution without paying you any part of what she receives for the house. Needless to say, if she will not pay you voluntarily, you will have to sue her to try to get her to pay; given how much (up to half a house) is at stake, it is worthwhile for you to hire an attorney to help you.


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