Ownership plays a large role for unmarried couples

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Unmarried Couples on Thursday, March 3, 2016.

In a time when more and more people are living together for extended periods of time before marriage, the legal rights of each person in the relationship are becoming more important to understand and determine. A larger portion of the population is experiencing issues that used to be reserved only for a few people, and the complexities are starting to affect many. For instance, did you know that the way you and your significant other decide to own property can affect you later on?

For married couples, assets are fairly straightforward: if either party purchases something while still in the marriage, the property is considered marital property. For unmarried couples, there are options:

  • Joint Tenants share property equally. Interests are equal, and if one member dies, the other joint tenant obtains the share of the deceased individual.
  • Tenants-in-Common still share the property, but the division is not equal. Instead, each party’s share is based on how much he or she contributes to the price of the asset. In this arrangement, one party does not have a right to the other party’s share if either member dies.

These particulars can be critical in the event of a breakup. If you contribute the vast majority of the finances and upkeep of a property, such as a house, but you and your significant other purchased the house as joint tenants, then he or she has an equal ownership even though the contribution was less.

This is just one area in which unmarried couples may face complex property issues, and in which the law can be difficult to understand. That is why unmarried couples are encouraged to seek legal aid if they are involved in a property dispute. Missouri residents should seek out attorneys familiar with Missouri law to ensure that they take full advantage of their rights.

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