Today, many Florida couples are choosing to live together instead of getting married. While some do so as a stepping stone on the way to eventual marriage, others just don't feel like tying the knot. Some of these couples decide to purchase homes together, and there are reasons why they might not want to do so.
When a married couple buys a home, the home will be considered to be part of the marital estate. This means that it will be subject to property division under state law. When a couple is unmarried, they do not have the same legal protections as married couples do if they later split. This means determining how to divide a home that is jointly owned by unmarried partners may be very complicated.
Some couples instead choose for only one to secure a mortgage and buy the home in his or her name only. If the couple then assigns the other partner to pay a fair rent, then the interests of both can be protected if they split. In that scenario, the purchasing partner can keep the home and the other partner can enjoy the benefit of having a rent at the fair market value.
Hillsborough County property division attorneys may help their unmarried clients with drafting cohabitation agreements. These agreements may be useful in protecting a person's rights and interests if the relationship later sours. A person may want to outline the responsibilities held by each partner for a home purchase in the agreement. This might include the percentages each will pay for the property taxes, mortgage insurance, maintenance costs and mortgage payments. It might also address how the house will be handled in the event that the couple later decides to go their separate ways.