How Do I Get Out of Home Ownership with My Ex-Girlfriend or Boyfriend?
For unmarried partners living together in Minnesota, it’s best to plan aheadBy Doug Mentes, Esq. | Last updated on January 27, 2023
Use these links to jump to different sections:
- There Are Limited Options for Getting Out of Ownership Once the Relationship Ends
- What is a Partition?
- How To Avoid Problems
There Are Limited Options for Getting Out of Ownership Once the Relationship EndsPartners that plan ahead have perhaps signed a cohabitation agreement—a legal document for unmarried couples that’s very similar to a pre-nuptial agreement. If not, anti-palimony laws typically prevent a court from enforcing any unwritten or verbal agreement between partners. Lacking a written agreement, the issue then becomes whether or not both partners have a legal right in the property. If only one partner appears on the deed, the non-titled partner will have little leverage to negotiate a resolution—unless they can clearly demonstrate an equitable interest in the property. Potentially, the partners can resolve the dispute on their own. But even the most fair-minded people struggle to resolve conflicts while going through a breakup. Without a resolution, the last resort is likely filing a claim in a district court for partition of real estate.
What is a Partition?As the real estate market has changed to one dominated by single-family homes, partitions—or physical divisions of land—have become less common. However, the recent increase in unmarried couples cohabitating has made partitions more common once again. Land may also be partitioned by sale: Either one co-owner buys the other out, or both partners agree to list the property and split the proceeds. If listing, sale price will determine property value. If one (or both) partners wish to remain in the home, there could be a dispute over its value. To manage disputes between the partners, the court may appoint one or more neutral referees to manage the sale. The referee(s) will bill for their time, and may have full discretion to perform any and all responsibilities necessary for sale, including:
- hiring one or more real estate appraisers
- choosing a real estate agent
- determining list price
- performing and contracting for tasks necessary prior to listing
- accepting or countering offers
- determining costs to be deducted from the sale price
- negotiating with buyers and their agents
How To Avoid ProblemsPlan ahead. The best approach is to talk with a law firm or an experienced real estate attorney for legal advice before you purchase a home or other real property with a significant other. An attorney can advise you on the burdens and benefits of co-ownership, and draft a co-habitation agreement that will protect your asset. If you already own property with a partner and are looking to get out, an attorney can also educate you on your options, and help you make the decisions that will allow you to move on. For more information on this area, check out our overview of real estate laws.
Additional Real Estate articles
Find top lawyers with confidence
The Super Lawyers patented selection process is peer influenced and research driven, selecting the top 5% of attorneys to the Super Lawyers lists each year. We know lawyers and make it easy to connect with them.Find a lawyer near you