Unmarried Couples Separation Concerns: Who Gets the House?

Unmarried Couples Separation Concerns: Who Gets the House?

Unmarried Couples Separation Concerns: Who Gets the House?

For many cohabiting couples living in Washington State, the home is often the most crucial and valuable asset. Consequently, separating unmarried couples might have concerns about who gets to keep the house. This can be a challenging, emotional, and contentious affair; explore the various aspects of this matter to give you the knowledge you need to tackle it.

Legal Considerations

For married couples, dividing assets during a divorce typically follows the state’s community property laws, which don’t necessarily apply to cohabiting, unmarried partners. Washington State considers unmarried couples’ properties as separate, so each party retains their own property unless a written agreement exists or until comingling in a community manner is shown. If both parties’ income is deposited into a joint account and treated as communal in nature, separate property is no longer black and white. Therefore, unmarried couples seeking to clarify their property rights may need to rely on existing contracts (like lease agreements) or equitable arguments if they have a dispute.

The Importance of Written Agreements

For cohabiting unmarried couples in Washington State, a written agreement can significantly help to clarify property ownership in the case of separation. A cohabitation property agreement (or cohabitation agreement) outlines the couple’s shared property, financial responsibilities, and intentions for their assets in case of separation. This document is invaluable in solving disputes that may arise and can be drafted with the help of a spousal support attorney.

Equity Arguments for Property Division

In the absence of a written agreement, couples must resort to making equity arguments when asserting property rights. These arguments focus on fairness and seek to establish that one partner’s contribution (either financially or through work) entitles them to some ownership of the house. For instance, if one partner contributed significant funds to purchase or renovate the home, they could argue that they should receive some share of the property.

Sale and Division of Proceeds

If neither party can afford to maintain the home on their own or cannot reach an agreement, selling the property and dividing the proceeds may be the best option. To ensure a fair division, consider hiring a professional appraiser to get a neutral valuation of the house, and consult a spousal support attorney to navigate the legal complexities.

When unmarried couples separate, the concern about who gets the house is a complex issue that demands a clear understanding of each partner’s rights and obligations. Seeking advice from a skilled spousal support attorney is essential for resolving your unique situation. Communication and protection are crucial in handling the sensitive matter of property division among unmarried couples.

If you’re facing this situation, consider hiring a spousal support attorney from LaCoste Family Law. Our attorneys have the experience and expertise to make this situation go smoothly. Give us a call today!