DJ and I have lived together for just over two years, since before we were engaged. When we were ready to move in together he was ready to buy. I was not.Â I was sort of adamantly against us owning property together before we were married, although I had no problem with living together unmarried. Weâ€™d recently seen friends of ours go through a breakup where there was joint property ownership, and I wouldnâ€™t wish that trial on anyone. There are no laws to protect you if you arenâ€™t married. If your mortgage partner doesnâ€™t pay their share, guess what? Youâ€™re liable, and thereâ€™s no separation agreement to divide bills (in my state…)
So our condo is in DJâ€™s name only. Not because I thought we might break up, but because if we did that would be one less horrible thing to handle. We also shopped within â€œhisâ€ price range. If for any reason I werenâ€™t paying the mortgage, he could swing it. If weâ€™d broken up, I could have moved out without him selling or finding a roommate in a hurry. If living together had been awful, weâ€™d have been heartbroken but not homeless. Itâ€™s also comforting in this job market that we could get by on one salary if necessary.
Weâ€™ve never treated it like â€œhisâ€ place, though. Weâ€™ve made improvements together to our home. But – I donâ€™t have a renterâ€™s agreement, which in a really ugly situation could be useful. DJ doesnâ€™t have any legal right to charge me rent, nor do I have any legal right to live in our home. I also have no legal claim to any appreciation or reimbursement for any improvements weâ€™ve made. Those were risks I was willing to take, but writing up a basic agreement for those things probably isnâ€™t a bad idea.
Did you buy property or share a lease before marriage? I know Iâ€™m a big worrier â€“ did you have a plan for the worst case?