Quite often, this blog discusses matters that arise when a married coupled decides to divorce. While these are certainly difficult and complex issues that require detailed attention, even those who are not married may face similar problems. Therefore, if you are unmarried but living with your significant other, you should carefully consider how property division could occur if you and your significant other split.
Many times, individuals decide to purchase property together either before they get married, or they buy property, live together and never marry. There are, essentially, two ways that this type of property can be held. First is in joint tenancy. In joint tenancy, each party shares equally in ownership of the property. This means that, should one individual pass, the other will automatically take over the deceased's share.
The second common form of ownership is tenancy-in-common. Under this legal theory, ownership of the property is distinct among the owners. So, if one person owns 50 percent of a home, he or she will not be able to acquire the other half unless it is purchased from the other party. If one partner dies, his or her half will pass to his or her estate, and not to his or her significant other.
These matters are greatly important, particularly if an unmarried couple that owns property together decides to break up. If both parties' names are on the mortgage and deed and ownership involves joint tenancy or tenancy-in-common, then it is likely that you will split the house 50/50. If, on the other hand, only you or your significant other's name is on the deed but the other party has contributed to the mortgage, the matter can be quite a bit more complicated. Therefore, if you are part of an unmarried couple and are concerned about property division upon splitting, it may be in your best interest to consult with an Arizona attorney about your family law problems.
Source: FindLaw, "Unmarried Couples and Property - Basics," accessed on Jan. 17, 2015