On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Unmarried Couples on Friday, June 26, 2015.
It is one of the most dreadful things about any kind of separation in which couples lived together, whether the separation is divorce or simply breaking up: asset division. There are some couples who attempt to resolve their disputes and stay in a relationship simply because they do not want to have to deal with the hassles of splitting and potentially losing some of their assets. This is inadvisable, because an unhealthy relationship benefits nobody, and assets can be handled legally.
When you are married, asset division tends to be a relatively even split among the things that were acquired during the course of the marriage. With unmarried couples, however, property is considered personal property in Missouri, meaning that assets which you purchased are your assets. This can get complicated depending on who purchased what in the relationship, especially if both parties regularly used a particular property.
A sofa is a perfect example of a property that may be disputed. It is possible that an unmarried couple would split the cost of a sofa evenly between them, but not likely, meaning that one person technically paid for the sofa. Of course throughout the course of a multiyear relationship, both parties likely used the sofa often. As such, the party that did not pay for the sofa may feel entitled to the asset, even though they did not pay for it.
These legalities can be quite complex, but it is important that you are not taken advantage of. You have rights, and you do not have to relinquish ownership of your property to someone else, even if they feel entitled to it. If you are unmarried and you are going through a property dispute with your former domestic partner, we would be happy to help you learn more about your rights.