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Home Buying Advice For Unmarried Couples

An increasing number of couples are choosing to with live together before marriage. The number of couples who choose not to get married is also increasing. While many of these relationships last, couples should still be prepared in case the relationship ends. One of the most important issues when unmarried couples break up is the division of property. Fortunately, there are some basic steps that couples can follow to make sure that the couple is prepared in case the relationship fails.

Decide How To Split Ownership Of The House

Prior to purchasing a home, it is critical that a couple decides how ownership of the home will be divided. There are two common ways that unmarried couples choose to share ownership: joint tenancy and tenancy in common.

Joint tenancy allows a couple to have equal ownership of the property. In the event that the couple does not stay together, the property will be divided equally between the two individuals. In the event that one of the individuals dies, the deceased individual’s ownership interest is transferred to the other individual.

Tenancy in common allows both individuals to determine the division of ownership interest. Upon separation, the property will be split between the two individuals in the manner that the couple has decided. In the event that one of the individuals dies, the deceased individual is able to pass the estate along to whomever the deceased individual chooses.

Create A Cohabitation Agreement

It is often a wise idea for couples who are considering purchasing a home to create a cohabitation agreement. A cohabitation agreement is a legal document entered into by two people who are in a long term relationship and live with one another. Cohabitation agreements specify how assets and debts will be divided in the event that a relationship ends.

There are a variety of issues that can be addressed by cohabitation agreements, including property ownership, if support should be paid in the event the relationship does not last, how financial support payments like mortgage will be paid, how debts will be divided between the couple, and sometimes even information about healthcare and medical decisions in the event that one of the individuals becomes incapacitated. Establishing clear terms in a cohabitation agreement is one of the best ways that couples can decide issues ahead of time and prepare in case the relationship does not last.

Make Sure That A Mortgage Reflects A Deed

Couples want to avoid a situation in which one partner’s name is listed on the mortgage but both parties names are listed on the deed. When this type of situation occurs, both parties have an asset but only one party bears the accompanying liability. If both individuals would like an ownership interest in the house, it is a better idea to wait until both individuals are creditworthy so they can apply for a mortgage together. Unmarried couples often find that banks require refinancing of a mortgage to add someone’s name to an existing mortgage.

The Assistance Of A Top Houston Family Law Lawyer

If you are part of unmarried couple that is considering purchasing a house, it is often a wise idea to first consult about the matter with an experienced family law lawyer. At Lindamood & Robinson, P.C., our lawyers are well versed in the various issues encountered by unmarried couples and how to resolve issues concerning property ownership.



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