What are my rights to a home purchased with my boyfriend?

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What are my rights to a home purchased with my boyfriend?

My boyfriend and I bought a home together and lived there together for 4 years. I paid the mortgage but my name is not on the house. Both of our checks were directly deposited into our joint checking account. He had an affair and made me leave. What am I entitled to being that I paid jointly for the mortgage?

Asked on May 2, 2011 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to consult with a real estate attorney. You *may* be able to establish some rights in the home, if you can show that the intention was that you and he had bought the home together and that you would have an ownership interest in it; however, be aware that you face an uphill battle:

1) The presumption is that the home belongs to whomever is on the title; it is possible to pay the mortgage WITHOUT owning the home, such as if a parent pays a child's mortgage for him or her.

2) It is possible that the boyfriend may claim that you were paying the mortgage as your "rent" for being able to live there (i.e. instead of writing him a separate rent check, you sent a check to the bank); this is certainly plausible and if he could establish it, you would not have an ownership interest.

3) If it can can be shown that your payments were gifts to your boyfriend, then you would not get anything for them.

In the future, *always* have a written agreement spelling out the terms and what you get; and for real estate, preferably be on the title.


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