Girlfriend pays property taxes but isn’t on the deed
Q: I live with my boyfriend and have been with him for about 12 years. We have two children. He bought a house, and he’s the only one on the bill of sale. I’ve been paying property taxes on the house since he stopped paying taxes. I also pay the house bills. Do I have a right to the property?
A: We will deal with your question in two parts. For one, if you live in a state that recognizes common-law marriage and community property, you may have a case for your claim. If you qualify as a common-law partner, you may have spousal rights in and to the marital home. You should speak to a family lawyer to discuss this further. Some nine states are community-owned states, mostly western and southwestern states, plus Louisiana and Wisconsin.
If you don’t live in a community property state, you probably can’t claim ownership of the house. Your boyfriend owns the house. You live in the house. The two of you are not considered married, and as such you have a fairly common situation among people who live together but are not married.
Let’s say you both rented an apartment and one of you paid more expenses than the other, or maybe all the expenses. One way to look at it is that you have chosen to live in this arrangement and each party can pay what they want, but neither can force the other to pay more. In this imaginary tenancy situation, one person could be on the lease, but the other person pays most of the rent and other housing expenses. Unless the couple has made a deal in which they agree to split everything equally, it might not be possible to force the person who hasn’t paid their fair share to bet.
Looking at your actual situation, your boyfriend may have paid most of the expenses for the purchase of the property, plus taxes, insurance and maintenance in the beginning, while you paid nothing (if you were even in the picture when the house was purchased). We doubt a court will force you to pay your share of all expenses for the time you haven’t lived in the house or even after you move in.
What was the landlord’s (your boyfriend) intention and what was your intention when you moved in? It’s delicate. Without a partnership agreement or other document, it would be difficult to go back in time and charge you your share of what you might owe or his share of what he might owe.
You have two kids together, so the real issue is figuring out what’s going on in your relationship, figuring out how your finances should be handled for household expenses and for your kids, and then deciding how you should own things.
We know it’s difficult. You and your boyfriend have been together for a long time. During this time, did you ever have a heart-to-heart conversation about your finances and how to pay for things like your house and kids?
If not, you need to have this conversation. You must then decide whether or not you should be a co-owner of the accommodation. When making this decision, you need to consider who pays for what in the relationship, including paying for the house and the cost of raising the children, and who does other unpaid work such as cleaning and upkeep. house, lawn mowing and other chores that need to be done.
We believe that dealing with your relationship issues is the starting point for this conversation. Talk about who is paying for your life together and your children. Once you’ve decided whether you and your boyfriend are moving forward as a unit or going their separate ways, you’ll know what kind of lawyer you need, and you can analyze all those other issues.
Contact Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin through his website, ThinkGlink.com. (c) 2019 Ilyce Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin