Buying homes as cohabiting partners

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Property Division on Saturday, September 24, 2016.

The trend towards cohabitation has led some Illinois couples to purchase homes together before they are married. This can cause significant problems if the relationship doesn’t last and one person wishes to stay in the home that was jointly purchased.

Experts recommend that couples avoid purchasing homes together before they are married. If they decide to do so, they should take steps to protect their individual financial interests by entering into a contract that should spell out all of the terms of the purchase, including the percentages of the mortgage, insurance and taxes each will be responsible for paying.

Another recommendation is for one partner to purchase the home on his or her own and for the couple to agree that the other one will pay him or her rent at fair market prices. This can protect the person who signs the mortgage while also letting the other one enjoy a fair rent if the couple later splits. If the couple marries, they might then want to change the contract to protect the interests of both in the home so that it can be treated as marital property if they later divorce.

Property division in divorce cases can be messy, but it can be even more difficult when unmarried couples split up. Without cohabitation agreements that clearly define the property rights and responsibilities of each partner, a person will have little protections under the law if the relationship ends. A person who is considering a home purchase or the purchase of other items of valuable personal property might want to get help from a family law attorney with drafting a cohabitation agreement that might better protect his or her interests.

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