Five years ago my girlfriend and I purchased a home. I put down $65,000 of my own money The rest came from our joint account ( around 20k). We have since broken up and have about $150,000 in equity. I told her I wanted 70k from The initial sale to cover my down payment and the rest of the equity would be split 50-50. She is being difficult and trying to tell me since she made more money she has more equity into the home than I do. Is this true? Is she entitled to more of the equity because she made more?

  • If the joint account was not deposited in to in a 50/50 manner and there was no agreement made beforehand I'd say she has a valid argument.
    – quid
    Mar 13, 2017 at 23:45
  • Thank you for your input. I'm not even sure that she has made more money than me. She's been out of work for the last 18 months. She also has two children that aren't mine that also cost money. But no we did not have any agreement
    – Jdub5084
    Mar 13, 2017 at 23:51
  • @quid - a valid argument about what? If the place is sold the creditors (mortgage) should be paid off first, then the OP should get his $65K and any remainder should be split. Unless she can prove that she had been making more repayments than him, then she has no argument.
    – Victor
    Mar 14, 2017 at 0:05
  • @Victor, this person is asking for $70k plus half the remaining net proceeds after sale. I'd say if she did indeed pay in more than 50% of the payment (via larger contribution in to the join account) she has an argument regarding the additional $5k on the down and the even split on the remaining net sale proceeds.
    – quid
    Mar 14, 2017 at 0:09
  • @victor@quid- so there was no agreement, why would it favor her? If she thought she was going to be paying more, then shouldn't she have documented that from the start?
    – Jdub5084
    Mar 14, 2017 at 0:24

2 Answers 2


There is no standard way to divide property under these circumstances.

This is why lawyers recommend agreeing how property will be divided up front, and why they make so much money sorting out issues like this when couples divorce. Incidentally, you don't say which country you are in, but in many countries if you have lived together for five years, your breakup can be treated like a divorce, legally speaking. If you can't agree on how to divide the property, the courts will be involved.

You are faced with a choice. Either find some way to come to an agreement you can both accept, or hire lawyers and argue it out in court. You might want to consider finding someone to act as mediator who will help you to come to an agreement. Professional mediation services exist, or you could consider a person you both respect and with the skills to do this.

  • +1 a mediator is probably a good idea with this much money involved.
    – quid
    Mar 14, 2017 at 1:31
  • The OP may want to get independent legal advice from a lawyer, before suggesting this as a solution to his ex-girlfriend. Mar 14, 2017 at 12:48

Is she entitled to more of the equity because she made more?

No. Equity should be determined by how much each paid. But she is entitled to more of the equity if she paid more. And that may be what she is saying. That she contributed more to the household's finances than you did.

If you always paid the mortgage out of the joint account, you could presumably go back and look at the account to find out how much each of you contributed to it. That would give you a reasonable split for the remainder of the equity after your initial investment. If you both put your entire paychecks into the joint account every time, then it will be the same as the ratio of what you each made. That would also make sense for splitting up whatever remains in that account.

While you're doing that, you may want to ask for more for your original $65,000. By my calculation, if your mortgage was 3.5%, that $65,000 saved the household more than $12,000 in interest that became equity instead. So you could reasonably bump your return on the initial investment up to $77,000 while making the concession on the rest of the equity.

This is just a suggestion for a framework for splitting the equity. If you can agree on a split, it will almost certainly be easier than going to a mediator or court.

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