Unmarried couple in Texas do not have a uniform set of guidelines for dividing shared property if they decide to break-up and go their separate ways. They cannot turn to a divorce court to split up assets. So, where does that leave same sex couples when it comes to their house?
Don’t simply kick your partner out of the house, you don’t have that power
If the property was purchased by both partners, neither partner can claim exclusive right to use the property. Whether the purchase was structured properly, if both partners have ownership rights in the property, neither partner can force the other to leave. Likewise, there are special rules to consider if only one partner owns the property, but the other calls it home.
How do I go about dividing the property?
There are several options for both partners. If one of the partners wants to purchase the property, a purchase of the other partner’s interest and transfer of their ownership is a simple way to divide the property without having to sell it on the open market. If neither partner wants to continue to own the property, the house can be sold on the open market.
What if one partner contributed more toward the house?
Many times in a relationship, there is one partner that contributes more toward the purchase of the house, whether it be toward the down payment or the monthly mortgage payments. This additional contribution is taken into account when dividing the money from any sale of the house. This way the proceeds of any sale are equitably divided among the partners by accounting for the additional money paid by one partner, and reimbursing that partner for the additional amount paid toward the purchase of the house.
What if I want to sell the house, but my former partner does not?
In Texas, individuals that own property with other people have a right to force the sale of the property if they no longer wish to own the property together. There are significant costs and time associated with forcing a sale. Therefore, it is wise to avoid the forced sale of property, but important to know that the power of a forced sale exists. The process of selling will be made much quicker and less costly if you can agree to sell the property pursuant to a set of terms. You should speak with a competent attorney that can help mediate between you and your partner so that a better resolution can be reached.
To get more information on how to conduct real estate transactions for same sex couples, click here or contact us for a free consultation.