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What complications should be expected when an unmarried couple's relationship fails after they have purchased a house together? How does this situation compare to that of a married couple?

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  • Andy - your profile says US, so I added as tag, if you were asking about a different country, please advise. – JTP - Apologise to Monica Sep 3 '12 at 13:15
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Generally it depends greatly on the jurisdiction. I'll answer assuming you're in the US (other people tend not to assume that their country is the only one in the world):

For unmarried couples its much less complicated: what's in the title/deed - that's what you get.

For married couples, the state laws regarding community property come into effect (it may also make you "married" for state law purposes, if the relationships were long enough). In this case you need to talk to a family law lawyer.

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    +1 It is also worthwhile reading, even in non community property states, the exact titling of the property and no, do not go by what it says on your real estate tax bill; you need to look at the transfer deed that was recorded by the county in which the property lies. Look to see if title was conveyed to you as "tenants in common" or "joint tenants" possibly with right of survivorship. It is unlikely that the deed says "tenancy by the entirety" (reserved for married couples) unless the state recognizes your relationship as a common law marriage. – Dilip Sarwate Sep 2 '12 at 22:00

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