Learn from my mistake

jen288June 26, 2008

A long time ago I posted here with the question "How do I get his name off the mortgage?" Well IÂm back again, not so much for a question but I am posting this as a warning.

Never, EVER under any circumstances purchase a home with someone you are not married to. I made that mistake and my life has been a living nightmare for he past year and itÂs not over yet.

I was dating a man for 10 years. 5 years ago I inherited some money and well, everything was puppies and kittens and rainbows with this man and we decide to buy a house together. To make a long story short, we purchased a home (with me putting a HUGE amount of my inheritance as a down payment) both of our names are on the mortgage. And the deed.

Before you all say "What were you thinking?!?". I know, I know. IÂve already beat myself up about that and IÂm over it. By all accounts the future was so bright we had to wear shades. Who knew that a year of purchase I would encounter unemployment, drug abuse and infidelity (him)?

So here I am. Winding down at the end of a costly (read $$$$$, seriously), lengthy partition lawsuit. He would not agree to sell. Both he and I were unable to buy one or the other out due to ruined credit. I had a financial backer to offer him money, to quit claim the deed to me. He refused. If I had a million dollarsÂhe would refuse that. He is spiteful and vindictive because I chose to exit the relationship. He refuses to leave the property, too. ItÂs awful.

Young couples, people buying houses together for investment, PLEASE, PLEASE make sure you have a contract drawn up so in the event of a break up or dispute there wonÂt be any issues. Or better yet put it in one name and one name only.

If I had been married, a divorce would have been way cheaper and way quicker. IÂve learned my lesson. ItÂs a bitter pill to swallow, but I am making it my mission to educate. Please! If you know anyone who wants to enter into a fateful partnership as this, STOP THEM! I WISH I had someone to prevent me from doing it. Let my mistake be you gem of knowledge.

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Oh, I'm so sorry. Break-ups are hard enough without the messy legal papers. My son bought a house with two friends shortly after high school graduation. It was a nightmare. I forgot exactly how he got his name off the deed but it was not when he wanted, nor on his terms.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 4:09PM
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You're generous to come here to post that Jen -- and I hope your misery ends soon.

My adult stepson recently purchased a house with his fairly new girlfriend, and whaddaya know, they're having problems... I did ask before they bought if they had made contingency plans in case things didn't work out, but of course, their only contingency was "a committment to the relationship."

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 4:11PM
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jen288 Best wishes on ending this nightmare soon. I hope your attorney is very good and is able to get returned to you what you have invested in this property.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 4:16PM
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I remember your original post, jen. I'm sorry it's ended so badly.

I agree you're very generous to return & post an update with a warning to others. Your experience is more valuable than words coming from some of us who've never walked in your shoes.

I hope soon you'll be able to get your life back on track with all this behind you.


    Bookmark   June 26, 2008 at 4:16PM
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I don't have any advice, but thanks for coming and posting this. The biggest financial mistake I ever made with a boyfriend was a joint checking account, and believe me, that was enough. I hope you can get this worked out as quickly and as painlessly as possible.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 1:54AM
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Hi Jen, I remember your post & appreciate you coming back to update this.

I'm really sorry that he's giving you the problems you're having. I'll assume it isn't over, from what you posted, it doesn't sound like it is.

Don't know if this will help you.. I recently did mediation for an estate. We went to mediation 2 months ago, here I thought we'd come to an agreement but they've yet to even sign it. Every time I turn around, they are adding things. I don't know how long it will take, I just want it over.

If you've tried mediation, hopefully contracts were written up and they are signed. There is too much that can happen if the settlement is taped with nothing signed.

Good luck. I hope this is over for you soon.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:07AM
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Dear Abby recently had a letter from someone else, who like you, had not married her man, but they considered themselves married.

He died unexpectedly and his family moved in and threw her out without blinking an eye. She was left out in the cold and had no legal recourse.

You are so right when you state it would have been easier if you had been married. I'm not throwing bricks at anyone here, but it always amazes me when I hear anyone (male or female) say "We don't need a piece of paper to declare our love" or words to that affect. It's not a matter of declaring your love, it's a matter of protecting yourself.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:33AM
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Yeah well, that's exactly the point of my post. TO WARN OTHERS! I don't care HOW much you think you LOVE someone. ANYTHING can happen. A hard life's lesson learned for me. Like I said, I've stopped beating myself up about it. What's done is done. Believe me, I've repremanded myself enough. And I've made peace with myself.

Should have, could have, would have...yes I know...and hopefully I can instill some wisdom into the star crossed lovers out ther.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 10:10AM
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Thanks for posting this.

A friend allowed a friend of hers to get a cell phone and internet on her account. He was supposed to pay her every month for his share. When they parted ways he refused to call the company and split the account. She is stuck paying for a phone and internet for him until the contact is up. She did turn his phone and internet off but she still has to pay for it.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 1:21PM
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I completely agree with your premise, but even if married, this would've still been costly... I mean, divorces can (and do) drag on forever (a contested divorce can get very expensive), he still could've made a claim to the house (and likely won at least some $$$$), etc. Unless I'm missing something (which I could be)...

I have a friend in a similar situation, except the house is worth less than they owe. Trying to get them to agree to who pays what to get the thing sold has been a nightmare (and the house continues to depreciate)...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 3:15PM
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Happyladi, your friend can probably buy out the contract. With Verizon (cell) it's usually $250, same for the internet, they usually allow a payoff.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 6:13PM
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Roselvr, yes she can but she doesn't have the money to buy it out. She can barely pay her bills.

    Bookmark   June 27, 2008 at 9:07PM
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First, jen, you have my sympathies.

Now about the issues. I recall a discussion here where everyone was urging a poster to get married before buying a house together. I don't understand why being married improves the situation. Certainly in your case, it would have helped for you to own the house yourself, but that's a different story. And after 5 years together, I can see how you might feel that it was safe.

But really, if you had been married, would this have turned out any differently? It would not have changed the underlying causes of unemployment, drug abuse and infidelity. How would it have changed the legal process?

And why was your credit ruined? Because of the expense of the lawsuit? Or something else?

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 8:50PM
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The answer to that is going to vary from state to state, of course. But if they were married, immediate recourse is possible upon legal separation as to who leaves/who stays. I suspect there would be a timely solution to removing a reluctant carcass from the premises. And, divorces no matter how long or messy usually end up costing less than law suits, at least in legal fees. I think Jen's message was not necessarily folks should marry before they buy jointly, but ANYBODY should have a contract made out before they invest in anything jointly........long before anything gets ugly when the stars are still in their eyes.

No marriage does not make everything necessarily easier, but verbal agreements where property is concerned is really, really risky.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 10:14PM
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I remember your post and I cringed when I read your situation. I'm really sorry it has turned out so nasty and that you have learned such a costly and stressful lesson.

Your situation is a huge lesson in not buying a home as an un-married couple unless the deed is in the name of the person who paid the down payment or an iron clad contract, much like a pre-nup spelling out what happens should the relationship go south.

Please keep us updated.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 8:38PM
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It's always a good idea to cool off your emotional brain & focus your logical brain on all decisions & to *slow things down*.

If the other person, friend, spouse, cousin, boyfriend, co-worker, boss, or whatever, objects or tries to rush you into moving faster than you can think, then bring the process to a halt while you ponder, "Why does this person have a problem with this?"

Often, there's just one reason.

& any time *anybody* demands that you weaken your position or make yourself vulnerable to "prove you trust (or "love") me"...that means that that person is neither to be trusted nor to be loved.

OP, at least know that you're not alone, you're not the only person to whom this has happened.

I've been down several similar roads with clients.

All you can do is salvage what you can & wipe the dirt off your shoes & go on.

& thank you for posting to help others.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 1:29PM
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"But really, if you had been married, would this have turned out any differently? It would not have changed the underlying causes of unemployment, drug abuse and infidelity. How would it have changed the legal process?"

Financially and legally it would have been dramatically different. I put a substantial amount of money down and I may not see one penny of it after everything is said and done. No, IÂm not sure how a divorce would have panned outÂa divorce decree that orders sale of the house?Âat least we could have walked away splitting the profit in half?
I donÂt know. But I imagine it would be easier and cheaper than what I am going through.

A partition lawsuit is VERY costly and VERY lengthy. In most cases just the threat of lawsuit scares the bejesus out of the other party and an agreement is met. Not in my case. (He refuses to sell out of spite) In fact my lawyer, the court clerk, the committee selling the house has never seen a partition lawsuit to the endÂThis lawsuit has been a year in the worksÂand itÂs not over!!!

Anyway, no, marriage would not have prevented the drastic change in his personality. But you donÂt know. Sylvia, the thing is, when we bought the house, at the time we had already been living together for 5 years. There WAS no pressure and no rush. Believe me, the way he changed and the way things went downÂI NEVER prepared (or expected!) for that. It blindside meÂand many other people in his life.

I did not want to imply that you had to be married to buy a house together. I was simply warning others that there are legal documents you can draw up if you purchase a home with someone. So in the event of a falling out both parties interests are protected.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 4:45PM
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Have lawyer check to see the laws regarding inherited money. Somewhere i remember because it was not joint, personal, earned money the other person could not claim the property. Might be in CA. And again this was years ago.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 4:54PM
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