We recently broke up and I moved out. I’m still paying 1/2 the mortgage. How do we equitably split the house?
This is becoming a common problem today as more unmarried people purchase real estate together. When I counsel unmarried couples who purchase real estate in this day and age, I recommend that they enter into Agreements that outline how the parties will “uncouple” in the event of a breakup. In addition to the questions you raise, clients in this situation often argue that they should no longer have to pay the mortgage because they no longer live at the property. Often times one couple states that they put down most of the down payment and mortgage payments and they want their money back. In addition, issues come up as to who can claim the deductions on their tax returns. From your question, it appears that there was no contractual agreement outlining what is to be done in the event of a breakup. Accordingly, you will most likely have to file a “Petition for Partition”. This is a civil lawsuit to resolve these situations wherein the Judge considers all the factors involved in the joint ownership of the property. Such factors include, but are not limited to, each parties respective contributions to the joint property over the years. A judge will then try to come up with an equitable solution to “uncoupling” your ownership in the property and will address the issues that arise out of the joint ownership. Good Luck.
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