On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Unmarried Couples on Friday, September 18, 2015.
When it comes to marriage, the legal system simply assumes that all property is purchased with the consent of both parties for the use of both parties, and thus the property is considered marital property. If the marriage should end, and the couple splits up, marital property will be divided equally, keeping in mind the notion that both parties exerted joint control over a given property. Unfortunately for unmarried couples, things are not always quite so simple.
Property disputes can be extremely troublesome for unmarried couples. If you and your significant other purchase a large property, a house for example, it is highly recommended that you purchase the house in joint names. By doing this, you will ensure that if the relationship ends, the property will be treated as belonging to both individuals, and a split will be drawn that is usually very close to 50/50. If the property is not in the names of both parties, a property dispute may arise.
In most instances, whether both parties live in the house or not and whether both parties make payments on the house or not, the courts will consider the house the property of the person whose name it is in. This means that if you and your boyfriend purchase a house, and it is purchased only in his name, the house will be considered his property even if you pay for half of the bills for the property. In the event that the two of you separate, the house will be considered his property, and you may have a hard time proving any ownership or vested interest in it.
However, you should know that even if the house is in his name, your situation is not completely hopeless. If you can prove, for example, that there was common intention such as providing documentation of your contributions to the mortgage or maintenance of the house, then you may be able to prove to the courts that you deserve a portion of the property. If you live in Missouri and you are struggling with an unmarried property dispute, contact an attorney to learn more about your rights and options.