My partner and I recently purchased a house. We split all expenses related to that purchase (down payment, homeowner's insurance, inspection costs, etc) exactly 50/50. Both of our names are on the mortgage, however since I handled the application, paperwork, communication, etc, my partner transferred her portion of these payments to me, and I paid them out of my accounts.

Going forward, we will also be splitting the mortgage payment exactly 50/50.

We have been together for years and plan to marry this summer, however it's always possible that one of us gets hit on the head, becomes a vindictive jerk, and tries to take the house away from the other.

What can we do now to clearly and definitively document the fact that we have split the mortgage 50/50, so that in case we eventually separate, it's clear that we should each receive an equal portion from the sale of the house?

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  • I am not knowledgeable of areas such as wills or divorce law (whence I am posting this only as comment), but two of multiple precautions should be (1) getting acquainted with prenuptial agreements (preferably also pertinent case law of your jurisdiction) so as to draft your own, and (2) signing together a notarized document whereby you two jointly state the arrangements you have been performing so far. – Iñaki Viggers Dec 8 at 17:24

The 50/50 split will be relevant but probably not a deciding factor if a divorce court ends up dividing your assets.

If you want the division of your property to be subject to an agreement you made before your nuptials, you'll need a proper prenuptial agreement, which will almost certainly require that each of you hire an attorney to negotiate it. Assuming your assets are not extensive, this can probably be done relatively cheaply.

You can, and should, give written receipts for money paid from one of you to the other, showing the date, amount and purpose. Also make such payments by check, so that there is a legal paper trail. You can and should draw up and sign an agreement between you to purchase this house together, specifying that you intend to own it min equal shares, and that you intend to split costs equally. (If you intend some other arrangement, specify that.) You should each have a copy., It might be a good idea to notarize your signatures.

You could have a lawyer draw up such an agreement in the form favored by your state. But this is a very standard sort of agreement, and you might be able to find a model ,online, or a software package that will create one to your specific needs, or even a printed form for one. I would sugest that any such form be one for your specific state.

  • What would this sort of agreement be called? We're not married yet so a prenuptial agreement doesn't apply I assume. – J.A.R.V.I.S. Dec 8 at 18:31
  • @J.A.R.V.I.S. I don't know of any special name. "Agreement to purchase house jointly" or "Agreement to share ownership". or if it covers more than just the house "Domestic partnership agreement" perhaps. – David Siegel Dec 8 at 18:46

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