Buying a house is a huge investment. For most people, it’s the biggest purchase you’ll ever make. Because of this value, in divorce, it’s also usually the most significant asset to divide. But what if you were never married? How does that change things?
One of our founding partners, Rick Jones, regularly appears on the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show, where he answers common family law questions from listeners. On a recent episode, a caller finds himself in a tricky situation. He and his ex-girlfriend bought a house together only to later break up. He can’t afford to buy her out and she doesn’t want to leave. What can he do?
“I’m with a long term girlfriend who is cheating now, or has been for awhile, but we own a home together. I can’t get her to go out, and I can’t afford to get out. What can I do to help push her out?”
Danny: “I can think of all sorts of things, but if you want what’s legal to do, let’s go to Rick Jones.”
Rick: “And when you say you own the home together, you bought it with both of your credits and…”
Caller: “I can’t afford to buy her out but she won’t leave.”
Rick: “Whelp, even though this is a domestic relationship, the reality is you need to go through a process called a ‘partition,’ and that’s just as if you and I bought this home together. You basically say, ‘This needs to be sold, I’m unable to cover the entirety of it, she’s unwilling to leave, this needs to be sold.’
“Now at that point, she’ll probably come to her senses and leave, because if you’re able to buy her out, then you’re able to say, ‘Listen, you don’t have to go through the cost of sale if you just leave. I’ll stay on and buy you out with half of your remainder.'”
Danny: “To be honest with you, I don’t even understand why it’s a question. I mean you combined money, and if Rick Jones taught me anything, that [house belongs to both of you]. She’s going to come to her senses and realize, every dollar we spend is a dollar I had in this house that I don’t have anymore. So follow that advice my friend and you’ll be smoking.”
Related Reading: Moore Marsden, Shared Homes, and Divorce