How To Handle Marital Home Division In Your Cohabitation Agreement


If you are planning to buy a house and cohabit in with your partner, then you should be very careful about how you treat it in your cohabitation agreement. There are different laws for divorcing spouses and those who are separating after cohabiting for some time. In most cases, the court will rely on your written agreement. Some of the things to address in this agreement, as far as the house is concerned, include:

How Much Of It You Own

You must define the percentage of the house each of you owns. Do you own exactly half of the house, more or less than that? This usually depends on how much you contribute to the purchase.

Note that the value of a home usually changes over time, usually for the positive. For example, you may install a new kitchen, construct a swimming pool or add a garage. All these increase the value of the home, and you should specify how they all affect the overall value of the home.

What Happens If One of You Dies

Apart from ownership, you should also discuss what happens to your respective portions should either of you pass away. For example, each of you can include a portion of the house in his or her will and leave it to whomever he or she wishes. In this case, you own the house as tenants in common, which means you have a say on what happens to your portion of the property when you die. Another option is to own the house as joint tenants, in which case each of you owns the house equally. As a joint tenant, you don't have a say on what happens to your portion of the house upon your demise – it automatically passes on to your partner.

What Happens If You Break Up

It may not look romantic to discuss this, but it is practical. There are several options for dealing with this the issue of a breakup. For example, you can decide to sell the house and divide the proceeds, or let one person buy out the other. Whatever you decide, make sure it is practical. For example, deciding to continue living in the house even after a breakup may not be practical because you do not know what the future holds.

Planning everything in advance will help you in case your union doesn't work out. It doesn't mean that you are planning to split; it's actually best for your own interests. If you do stop living together, and you didn't institute such an agreement, then you ought to consult a family attorney to help you chart the way forward.

For a local family lawyer, click this link or do an online search. 


15 September 2015

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