On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Unmarried Couples on Wednesday, July 30, 2014.
There are many couples across the United States who live together, but, for one reason or another, choose not to get married. While a separation is obviously never the desired outcome, not being married can make the process much easier if a breakup should occur. Divorce proceedings may require complex litigation, whereas breaking up can be as easy as walking out the door. However, depending on how long couples lived together, things may not be that simple.
If unmarried couples live together for many years, it’s extremely likely that they will acquire property of some kind. Moving into a new apartment could mean buying a new sofa, and when couples split, the question of who gets the sofa could become a serious cause for concern. The good news is that, in the event that couples find themselves in a property dispute, they are treated in much the same way that married couples would be. Unfortunately, this means that all property acquired during the relationship may be subject to division, even if you bought it for yourself with your own money.
Dividing property between domestic partners can be extremely difficult, but there are articles on websites such as FindLaw that can help explain the processes behind it. Dividing assets between unmarried and cohabiting couples is almost identical to dividing assets for married couples when it comes to: property owned before entering the relationship, as that will remain with its original owner, but property acquired during the relationship, as that is considered fair game and may be subject to division if it falls within certain parameters.
Missouri courts follow these same rules, allowing unmarried couples to divide their assets as evenly as possible. Still, it can be difficult to prove what property was yours before the relationship and what properties you acquired during the relationship. It’s important to keep track of who owned what property, and even better if ownership can be proved.