Three Ways to Purchase a Home as an Unmarried CoupleUnmarried couples basically have three options when it comes to purchasing a home together. They can purchase the home as Joint Tenant with Rights of Survivorship, Tenants in Common, or neither. When purchasing a home together as an unmarried couple, you must decide if you want the property to automatically pass on to your significant other if you die; or if you want to be able to bequeth your share of the property to someone else through your will or through a trust. You must also decide if you want to purchase the home together with equal or unequal shares of ownership.
Purchasing a Home as Joint Tenants with Right of SurvivorshipPurchasing a home as joint tenants with right of survivorship is the most common form of home ownership for couples. Joint tenancy with right of survivorship means that each person owns the undivided whole of the home. One person cannot exclude the other. Both persons have co-equal ownership of the entire home. According to Ohio statute, each tenant has equal right to share in the use, occupancy, and profit of the property, and each of the survivorship tenants is subject to a proportionate share of the costs related to ownership and use of the property. When one person dies, their ownership share automatically passes to the other tenant. For example, if Tom and Sue own a house as joint tenants with right of survivorship and then Tom dies, then automatically upon his death Sue owns the entire house.
Purchasing a Home as Tenants in CommonPurchasing a home as tenants in common has advantages if unequal ownership shares is desirable. With tenants in common, the property can be purchased as a percentage of ownership. For example, if one person makes the entire downpayment and wants an extra ownership share in the property because they spent more money on the house, then they could purchase the home with something like a 70% - 30% split of ownership. Additionally, each partner can sell all or a portion of their fractional interest or can devise it to anyone by will. Owning a home as tenants in common is a good option if you want to leave your ownership share of the home to someone other than the person living in the home with you. This option also would be necessary if you do not want to be equal owners of the home with the other owner.
If One Party is At Risk of Default on Any Loan Obligations or Has Creditors After Them, You Should Protect the Home from Foreclosure
If you want to purchase a house with your significant other and one of you has bad credit, there are certain steps you should take to purchase the home and protect both party's interests. If you have already purchased a home with your significant other, and one of you subsequently develops bad credit, then there are specific things you can do to alleviate the risk of being foreclosed on.
When one person in a relationship has bad credit and is at risk of defaulting in the future then the two of you should work out alternative arrangements with respect to purchasing a home together.
In Ohio, no matter how you purchase property, if you purchase it with someone with bad credit - then that person's creditors could foreclose on the house. In these situations it is best to have just one party in the relationship purchase the home solely in their name and then have a contractual arrangement to divide up the equity in the house as it is earned.
If one party to a relationship has bad credit you are going to want to avoid the possibility of their creditors filing a lien on the house. One party's bad credit hinders a few aspects of the home buying process. First, it may be hard if not impossible for the party with bad credit to obtain a mortgage loan. Second, if that party has loans in default or they are at risk of not being able to pay off some obligations, then they could be sued and any real property that they owned would be at risk. So if you are married to someone with bad credit or you are in a relationship with someone with bad credit and you want to purchase a home together there are a few things you should do:
- See if the person in the relationship with the best credit has good enough credit to purchase the home on their own
- Only put that person's name on the deed, the mortgage, and the note
- Work out a payment for equity agreement (only for non-married couples)
The problem with leaving the partner who has bad credit off of the deed and mortgage note is that they will most likely be paying for half of the mortgage and splitting the costs of all the home repairs, but they might not have any legal way to recoup their costs if the relationship goes south. This means that the person with bad credit could be contributing to the equity of the house for all the years that the relationship is good, but when the relationship gets broken off they will also be broken off from recouping any of their investment in the property. This is not a problem for married couples because Ohio law requires that married couples support each other (in ways like paying the mortgage), and provides mechanisms in the law to make sure that in the instance of a divorce that all contributions and equity in the home that was created during the marriage is split equally on divorce. Furthermore, in Ohio, contracts are unenforceable between the parties of a marriage. This means that the law automatically provides for the dividing up of the homes equity in divorce cases, but not in cases where a unmarried couple breaks up.
Make a Contract Before Purchasing a Home as an Unmarried Couple
Before purchasing a home with your significant other, you should plan for the best but prepare for the worst. You should have a plan in place in case of a breakup on who will keep the house, whether you will sell the house, and how the equity is divided or the contributions to home repair compensated in case of a break up. A contract can be drawn up between non-married persons who are seeking to purchase a home together. The contract can be tailored to your unique circumstances and will get both you and your partner on the same page about things in case the worst case scenario happens and you break up. The break up will be much easier if both of you already know what is going to happen with respect to the home. A good home buying contract between non-married persons will provide for what party moves out in case of a break up (if only one party is on the deed - then that party would stay), the contract could provide that the home be sold in the instance of a break up, or the contract could provide how the contributions of the party who is moving out will be paid back.
When two people are paying the mortgage and contributing to home repairs, but only one person's name is on the deed, then you should create a way for the other person to receive some sort of compensation should the two of you break off the relationship. This contract could provide for a way of calculating payments made and treat them as a loan in the case of a break-up, which could be paid back over a number of years. The contract could provide a mechanism for having the house appraised after a break-up and then calculating a payoff amount to the party moving out based on the home's value. The contract could provide for selling the house and splitting the equity in a certain way in case of a break-up. There are an infinite number of ways a contract can be drawn up between unmarried couples purchasing a house, and truly it should be drawn up specifically for your unique circumstances. If you are planning on purchasing a home with your significant other, contact an attorney at Harris & Engler to have a contract drawn up specifically for your needs so that the two of you can purchase the home with confidence that everything will be provided for in case of a break up later on.
Purchasing a Home as an Unmarried Couple in Ohio - What to Watch Out For and How to Protect Your Purchase
If you are planning on purchasing a home with your significant other, there are a lot of factors that the two of you should consider. The main factor would be figuring out what would happen with the home if the relationship goes sour. You may also have some issues if one of you has bad credit, which you can read about here.
How to Structure the Home Purchase
You should not purchase a home with someone with whom you are not sure if your relationship can withstand the test of time. But even with a rock solid relationship, the unexpected does happen and it is best to plan for possible contingencies with home buying before you actually purchase the home.
There are different ways to structure the home purchase and ownership depending on your needs and the needs of the relationship. You would purchase the house differently depending on if you want your interest in the house to automatically pass along to your partner upon your death (and vice versa) or if you want to be able to designate who inherits your interest in the home through a will. If one of you is in a profession that has a high personal liability risk, then you may want to protect yourselves by having the home be completely in the not-at-risk party's name. But then if you have the house solely in one party's name for liability reasons (or bad credit reasons), then you will also want protection for the non-named party's investment in the property. This can be taken care of through contracts drawn up to protect the party who makes significant improvements in the house and puts money towards the house but is not listed on the deed. The way in which you purchase the home will depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular situation.
Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreements
You should have a plan in place in case of a breakup on who will keep the house, whether you will sell the house, and how the equity is divided or the contributions to home repair compensated in case of a break up. A contract can be drawn up between non-married persons who are seeking to purchase a home together. The contract can be tailored to your unique circumstances and will get both you and your partner on the same page about things in case the worst case scenario happens and you break up. The break up will be much easier if both of you already know what is going to happen with respect to the home. A good home buying contract between non-married persons will provide for what party moves out in case of a break up (if only one party is on the deed - then that party would stay), the contract could provide that the home be sold in the instance of a break up, or the contract could provide how the contributions of the party who is moving out will be paid back. If you are planning on purchasing a home with your significant other, contact an attorney at Harris & Engler to have a contract drawn up specifically for your needs so that the two of you can purchase the home with confidence that everything will be provided for in case of a break up later on.
How to Title a Home as an Unmarried Couple
Enforce Your Child Support or Spousal Support Payments in Ohio
If you are owed money from a spousal support obligation or child support obligation that has not been payed, contact an attorney at Harris & Engler for assistance in getting payment.
The attorneys at Harris & Engler can use a variety of tools to obtain your owed spousal and child support. The termination of a child support order does not affect the fact that you are still owed past due and unpaid child support.
You can obtain payment of spousal support or child support through a wage withholding order or a certificate of judgment for the amount that is owed. With a certificate of judgment you obtain a lien on all real property owned by the obligor in the county in which the judgment was obtained. You could then, if necessary, foreclose on the obligor's property in order to collect your payment.
Contempt Motions Relating to Your Divorce
When you obtained a divorce or dissolution, all of the documents filed with that final Divorce Decree, including your separation agreement and parenting plan, became orders of the court. Those orders of the court include things that you were required to do as part of the divorce, such as paying spousal support or child support. If one party fails to comply with an order of the court, then technically they are in contempt of court.
What To Do When Your Ex Stops Making Child Support or Spousal Support Payments
There are a number of different options at your disposal in case your ex stops making child support payments or spousal support payments. These options range in both severity and expense. You can file a motion for an order to show cause (as to why payments are not being made) and obtain a contempt order. A contempt order will impose a fine and/or imprisonment on the obligor, with increasing penalties for each successive contempt order that is obtained.
Additionally, Ohio has enacted statutes aimed at enforcing child support by suspending the State licenses of the obligor. These licenses can range from occupational and professional licenses, recreational licenses, all the way to driver's licenses.
There are some serious consequences to not paying spousal support or child support in Ohio. The Ohio legislature has enacted statutes that have some serious bite when it comes to penalties for non-payment. Contact an attorney at Harris & Engler to talk about how to collect your unpaid spousal support or child support.
Collect Back Owed Child Support in Ohio
Children are expensive, and if one parent is not paying their legal obligation to raise the child it can cause significant hardship. If you are owed back child support, there are a number of options available for you to collect all that you are owed. Even if the child is now over age 18 and there were significant child support arrearages you are still entitled to that money.
You spent it raising the child and the other parent didn't, but they were under a legal obligation to do so and the attorneys at Harris & Engler can help you get your money back. If your child's parent is not paying their child support, contact an attorney at Harris & Engler today to talk about the possible solutions to your problem.
The law firm of Harris & Engler is located in Columbus, Ohio, and has attorneys helping client collect back owed child support in Franklin County, Delaware County, and Union County. You can call an attorney at Harris & Engler today at (614) 610-9988.