Author Topic: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?  (Read 45818 times)

Samsam

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #50 on: August 31, 2013, 11:02:13 AM »
A friend of mine on another forum was in this house-sharing situation as the homeowner.  (She's also an engineer.)  At some point their relationship ended, and during the breakup he suggested that all of his years of contributions toward the housing expenses meant that he had purchased a portion of the home's equity.  He actually hired a lawyer.  She ended up showing them both her years of Quicken records to document that he'd paid his share of the utility & grocery bills but not the mortgage.  The lawyer agreed that his client might not have a case.

Wow, see that is exactly why I'm so scared of renting to a SO that I honestly would prefer not to until I am incredibly confident that I am going to marry the guy and/or the mortgage is paid off so there's no way he could contribute to principal. What about though if his contribution covers parts of the property taxes and HOA dues? Or is it really just the utility and grocery bills that are safe?

Oh, I want to know the answer to this.  Do property taxes and HOA count?

Half-Borg

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #51 on: August 31, 2013, 11:36:21 AM »
2.  Your discussions are putting a price on the relationship.

I think it's better to talk about these things than not. Are you just wanting me to be aware of that? I think the price is there whether a couple talks about these things or not. If we don't work out something we are both happy with, at least one of us is going to be upset later.

Thanks for your input.
I agree with you about talking things out as soon as possible. And talking is not the same as counseling ^^

I also wanted to say, that the tone against your girlfriend has been quite negative, don't let that get to you. Remember that you are the only one here, who actually knows her. We are just hearing about one situation.
So one serious advice: Don't take advice from people on the internet!
You have been given a lot of options to think about, but it is your call.

fidgiegirl

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #52 on: August 31, 2013, 02:48:48 PM »

I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that there's a lack of long-term marital experience.

You're the homeowner.  You have the power.  Even "worse", you're the guy in a male-dominated society. 

She has the choice to either voluntarily pay some of the expenses (whatever you call them and however they're divided) or she has the choice to voluntarily move out.  Anything you do from your side could be interpreted as coercive, no matter how objective or rational you may think you're being.  (Engineers are notorious for making this mistake, although I don't want to get into how I learned that.)  Her interpretation is what counts.  If you're offering suggestions on what she should do (especially if those suggestions are based on your holding the deed to her lodging) then you're removing the "voluntarily" part of the equation. 

On the other hand if you're saying "I'm just happy to have you here, honey, and however you want to help out on the expenses would be great", then you're restoring the "voluntarily" part.  Let her put the onus on herself (or not) instead of casting yourself as the authority figure.  Her subsequent behavior will give you a lot of indicators about the strength of your relationship.

Whether or not you actually have a vote is irrelevant to the situation.  As soon as you exercise your right to vote, you lose the election.

Best answer yet.  And Josh, I was impressed with how you took it with an open mind.

Carrie

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #53 on: August 31, 2013, 05:36:50 PM »
This whole thread kind of makes me sad.
I got married while at university and my loving husband paid the rent and helped towards school expenses that were not covered by scholarships.
If you love the girl, marry her.  If not, quit playing games and go your separate ways.
Maybe it's that I'm old-fashioned, but I just don't understand living with someone and loving someone without wanting to make an official commitment.  Either you love them with all your heart, or you don't.  If you don't, don't cohabitate (unless you do it as roommates and have a lease contract).  If you do, marry and start your life together building lots and lots of assets together.  Married people working towards the same goal (building wealth) can be tremendously successful, but two people who don't share the same financial goals and who have no long-term investment in the relationship could lead to disaster. 
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 05:57:39 PM by Carrie »

arebelspy

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #54 on: August 31, 2013, 05:50:48 PM »
This whole thread makes kind of makes me sad.
I got married while at university and my loving husband paid the rent and helped towards school expenses that were not covered by scholarships.
If you love the girl, marry her.  If not, quit playing games and go your separate ways.
Maybe it's that I'm old-fashioned, but I just don't understand living with someone and loving someone without wanting to make an official commitment.  Either you love them with all your heart, or you don't.  If you don't, don't cohabitate (unless you do it as roommates and have a lease contract).  If you do, marry and start your life together building lots and lots of assets together.  Married people working towards the same goal (building wealth) can be tremendously successful, but two people who don't share the same financial goals and who have no long-term investment in the relationship could lead to disaster.

Well said.
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Nords

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #55 on: August 31, 2013, 06:26:00 PM »
If you do, marry and start your life together building lots and lots of assets together.
A second-millennium humor "columnist" (Erma Bombeck) used to write about that:
http://www.thelawcollaborative.com/marriage-vs-living-together.htm

limeandpepper

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2013, 09:20:46 PM »
I don't think this thread is sad. Some people are old-fashioned, some people are not. The important thing is to find a partner with the same outlook. It seems like Josh and his girlfriend were on the same page until her family member gave her different ideas. Let's not get the thread off-topic as to whether people should be old-fashioned or not. The key element here is that Josh doesn't seem like he's old-fashioned, so the initial advice was geared towards him making sure that his partner also has similar values. After subsequent clarifications, while there does seem to be some disconnect, it's good to know that the situation is actually mostly agreeable and not as conflicted as the first post may have suggested! At the end of the day you're after a solution for which both parties are on board and happy.

Personally, if I were in such a situation? I currently live in a sharehouse in a great suburb with cheap rent and I am happy where I am. Hypothetically, if my boyfriend already has his own place, I'd love to live with him, but I still want it to be a mutually beneficial decision for both of us. Hey, zero rent would be awesome, but I certainly wouldn't think he's taking advantage if he would like some rent for a place that is attractive and rent-able on the market. However, with me he'd be getting a great live-in cook, so he must take that into account, too. ;) Other factors also apply - if we really want to live together, but moving will mean uprooting my life in a big way, for example, then my expected financial contributions will reflect that. If we come to an agreement and I move in, I can still continue to save money and buy my own property one day, if I wish. Should we decide to marry or combine finances in the future, we could then have two properties between us! On the other hand, if I really don't want to be just paying rent, and desire part of the house, then we'd talk about joint-ownership and undertake the necessary legalities, and we can both contribute to the mortgage. Perhaps such considerations sound unromantic to some, but we've always been quite pragmatic while still being certain that we want to spend our lives together - the two mindsets are not mutually exclusive.
« Last Edit: August 31, 2013, 09:26:00 PM by limeandpepper »

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #57 on: August 31, 2013, 10:03:46 PM »
This whole thread kind of makes me sad.
I got married while at university and my loving husband paid the rent and helped towards school expenses that were not covered by scholarships.
If you love the girl, marry her.  If not, quit playing games and go your separate ways.
Maybe it's that I'm old-fashioned, but I just don't understand living with someone and loving someone without wanting to make an official commitment.  Either you love them with all your heart, or you don't.  If you don't, don't cohabitate (unless you do it as roommates and have a lease contract).  If you do, marry and start your life together building lots and lots of assets together.  Married people working towards the same goal (building wealth) can be tremendously successful, but two people who don't share the same financial goals and who have no long-term investment in the relationship could lead to disaster.

Marriage isn't the goal for everyone. If both partners prefer to not be legally married I see nothing wrong with that. Marriage does not necessarily equal complete commitment.
I chose to get married mostly because it made things like next of kin and beneficiary status automatic. Such things could be done other ways, but just getting married seemed simpler.

Maybe my attitude that living common-law is hardly any different from marriage, is because of where I live, where living together for a year or more gives almost the exact same result, financially as getting married. For taxes, and joint property, child support, etc, I don't believe that extra piece of paperwork makes any difference. If the OP lived here, their finances would be considered intermingled, and I'd be looking to protect myself, just in case, married or not.

cerberusss

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #58 on: September 01, 2013, 05:17:45 AM »
This whole thread kind of makes me sad.
I got married while at university and my loving husband paid the rent and helped towards school expenses that were not covered by scholarships.
If you love the girl, marry her.  If not, quit playing games and go your separate ways.

Typical American mindset, though. Here in The Netherlands, people live their whole life and have kids together and not be married. You can call that "playing games" and be sad about it, but I've never been happier in my life with this girl.

Here's how we do it. I own the house and take care of payments towards the principle, and several taxes for home owners. The interest, electricity, water, groceries and all other costs, she pays her share (in proportion to our total income). Holidays are also totaled and paid in proportion.

Since she now has the "problem" that she doesn't save into the house, we created an emergency fund for her. Basically I give her a couple of thousand, to be saved into an account on her name only. I also advised her into the different ways she can create her own stache.

What is really funny, is that while I am very open about my finances, she likes to keep it a secret :P I actually don't know what she's worth, and when I straight-out ask, she giggles and says it's not my business :-P

arebelspy

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #59 on: September 01, 2013, 07:38:52 AM »
Huh.  That's quite interesting.

I still tend to agree with Carrie, and Nord's article.  Worrying together and striving towards the same goal(s) seems important.

Doubly so for someone wanting to FIRE.
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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2013, 10:13:07 AM »
Quote
(Engineers are notorious for making this mistake, although I don't want to get into how I learned that.)

My daughter's in her senior year of that degree program, and she's hoping to be a U.S. Navy submarine nuclear engineer.  For some reason she thinks I made the nuclear engineering part look cool.  It will be absolutely fascinating to see what type of guy she cuts out of the herd to be her spouse.

Nords, you crack me up.  I have to admit, I am looking at this from an engineer's perspective.  And for the record, I picked one of my own.  (Both spouse and I worked at NR.  That was very common among the very few women at NR.)

So I live in Cali, and I have a former coworker who lived with  his girlfriend for 7-10 years or so.  He worked and bought the  house.  She was an artist and a stay at home.  He put her on the house papers.  When he refi'd, he had to take her off because she had no income.  After the refi, he put her back on.

When she left him, she got half the house.

Now, I understand the things that Mr. Macinstashe and Nords are saying with respect to how it comes out - being the bigger income, the one with the power, in a male dominated society.  But I guess I'm not the typical woman and never really have been. 

So in short, I vote for the generous girlfriend discount or the splitting expenses.

pbkmaine

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #61 on: September 01, 2013, 11:30:46 AM »
Nords, I loved what you said about engineers. At financial planning conferences, we sit around the fire at night and tell each other engineer stories :) I do retirement planning workshops, and I can identify with 100% accuracy who the engineers in the audience are. Case in point: I was doing a workshop where I observed that most people have no idea where their last $100 went. A hand goes up in the audience. "I can tell you where every dollar I spent for the last 16 years has gone," he said. "Are you an engineer, by any chance?" I asked. "How on earth did you know?" he said, as the rest of the audience laughed. You are just a different breed.

desrever

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #62 on: September 01, 2013, 04:06:48 PM »
I have a solution for this ... IF your girlfriend can budget $5000 each year for housing.

Here's the idea: no matter what, you split ownership and fees on the house evenly, 50/50. But you work out some financial arrangement that's equitable. You can loan her money at a rate that's equal to the mortgage rate, without having to do too much bookkeeping.

Here's an example: A decade ago my girlfriend and I bought a house together. She had a down payment, but I had no cash to contribute. We decided that she'd put down 20% and be responsible for 3/8 of the mortgage; I would put down %0 and be responsible for 5/8 of the mortgage. We both had equal ownership share in the house. At any time, however, I could give her an amount equal to 1/8 of the mortgage at that point, we would then be splitting things equally. It took me about two years to come up with that balloon payment, and it felt great to be on the same equal footing, and it provided me with an incentive to be somewhat mustachian in my approach to savings.

A ground rule was always that if something went south in the relationship, we'd both move out and sell the house. Knowing that our ownership stake was a fair split made us feel like equal partners. There always seems to be emotional difficulty on both sides of a relationship where one person is subsidizing the other.

With a $700 mortgage payment, your girlfriend's 5/8 share of the mortgage would be $5250 annually. That's not too much. Could she afford that? Is it at all comparable to what her rent would be if she were living alone?

If she can't afford a full 5/8 payment you can pay her share, and keep track of amount of her share on a spreadsheet somewhere. You're loaning her this money. Pretend that these amounts grow at an interest rate equal to the mortgage (in other words, she gradually over time becomes responsible for more of the mortgage balance). If you sell the house and it's appreciated, then her share of the gain is diminished by the amount of this loan.

Everybody wins! You have flexibility, she feels like a partner and owner, and she has a short-term incentive to become an equal financial partner in your relationship -- which means, incidentally, that she won't have to worry about being trapped in a relationship she can't afford to leave. Even the appearance of weird power dynamics like that can make people behave terribly. Equality is the answer.

Nords

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #63 on: September 01, 2013, 08:15:16 PM »
Quote
(Engineers are notorious for making this mistake, although I don't want to get into how I learned that.)
My daughter's in her senior year of that degree program, and she's hoping to be a U.S. Navy submarine nuclear engineer.  For some reason she thinks I made the nuclear engineering part look cool.  It will be absolutely fascinating to see what type of guy she cuts out of the herd to be her spouse.
Nords, you crack me up.  I have to admit, I am looking at this from an engineer's perspective.  And for the record, I picked one of my own.  (Both spouse and I worked at NR.  That was very common among the very few women at NR.)
Making snarky Naval Reactors jokes at this stage of my life would just be taking cheap shots to atone for all of those EOOW disqualifications learning experiences of my youth.

But I will say that, more than 20 years after the last time I was awakened on the duty section midwatch to be notified that the NRRO monitor watch was coming down the hatch, seeing the letters "NR" still makes me clench up a little...

The heck with "Blind Man's Bluff", I bet you guys have better stories about your submarine experiences!

"I can tell you where every dollar I spent for the last 16 years has gone," he said. "Are you an engineer, by any chance?" I asked. "How on earth did you know?" he said, as the rest of the audience laughed. You are just a different breed.
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bikebum

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #64 on: September 02, 2013, 01:02:38 AM »
I probably shouldn't have asked this question on the internet since it involves complicated relationship issues. I naively thought it would be more simple than that.

Anyway, my girlfriend (and I) doesn't want an old-fashioned relationship. She doesn't want to be the stay-at-home type whose husband/boyfriend pays the bills. We both want to earn money AND do house chores together. She doesn't want to depend on my financial stability. Sometimes she doesn't have much choice, which doesn't bother me but it does bother her. I have given her lots of money when she needed. She says they are loans and she will pay them back. If she does, great. If she doesn't, she can't afford to and that's fine. If we have kids, we will both do it all together, except for the obvious mother-only roles, which I will support in any way I can.

I don't think that is sad at all.

And we are both happy and in love. I was just looking for some ideas on how to divide living expenses. I think some of you assumed there was some turmoil between us when there is not, which may be partly my fault because of the way I worded things.

I'm going to throw an idea out that may make some people mad, but here it goes: I think SOME people who are married feel like they made sacrifices when they got married, so when they hear of people who want the benefits without the sacrifices, it makes them mad. This is not based on what I have read here, but on things married people have said to me. And I don't think there is anything wrong with trying to have the good parts of a relationship and leave out the stuff you don't want. I am prepared to make lots of sacrifices if we have kids, but a solid relationship between lovers should be mutually beneficial and not involve a lot of sacrificing. I also think life used to be a lot harder, so stronger commitment and sacrifice were more important. Life is not that hard anymore. The fact that women are now close to equal in income opportunities is also a big factor. I don't have any marriage experience but I do have the experience of sharing my life with someone for 4 years, which is not a lot but not nothing. Just my inexperienced opinion though ; )

I don't regret my post though because I got some great ideas. We agreed on basing her contribution on what she was paying for her old room with a 20% girlfriend discount. This will cover her utilities and living space. We will split groceries. The house stays in my name. She gets to live for cheaper in a nicer place with me, and I get to live in my house with her and get some help with the expenses. This amount is also a little more than a third of the total, which is what some people here do. And this is just a goal for her contributions. She may not always be able to afford it, which is fine.

Thanks for the help. I will try not to accidentally ask for relationship advice in the future.

« Last Edit: September 02, 2013, 01:52:50 AM by Josh »

shadowmoss

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #65 on: September 02, 2013, 06:13:35 AM »
Oh, please do.  I have thoroughy enjoyed reading the answers, which I think said a lot more about the folks doing the typing than about your particular situation.  The cross section it shows was great.  Especially Nords.  :)

limeandpepper

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #66 on: September 02, 2013, 07:23:56 AM »
Glad you sorted it out Josh.

The funny thing is... if we'd only known that changing the word "rent" to "contribution" would be all it takes for her to be happy to chip in, a lot of the misunderstandings would have been avoided from the beginning... ;)

She doesn't like the idea of paying "rent" to her boyfriend

We agreed on basing her contribution on what she was paying for her old room with a 20% girlfriend discount.

And the original post did paint a much different picture to your most recent update. The girlfriend in the first post sounded like she's reluctant to pay for anything, while in the most recent post she sounds very much interested in being self-sufficient. So having clarified that, it's great that you actually do see eye to eye and there are no dramas.

Anyway, don't be too upset. To be honest I don't think there is much difference between marriage and living together these days, especially in places where de facto couples basically have the same rights as married couples. So in that vein, I don't really think married couples necessarily have to make more sacrifices. People choose their own sacrifices, regardless of their relationship status. Other than that, I agree that couples don't have to be married to be serious about each other. If someone is the sort of person who likes the idea of marriage and wants to get married, but doesn't want to marry their partner, then yeah, they're not fully committed yet. But if someone has never really cared much about marriage, then whether they want to marry their partner is not a reliable indication of how they feel about that person. I think a lot of people who look down on non-married couples are the "marrying types", and are unable to wrap their minds around the concept that couples who aren't that interested in marriage can actually absolutely adore each other and want to be together for life. Or to put it simply: "marrying types" think marriage = commitment, while "non-marrying types" think commitment = commitment.

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #67 on: September 02, 2013, 07:47:40 AM »
If you do, marry and start your life together building lots and lots of assets together.
A second-millennium humor "columnist" (Erma Bombeck) used to write about that:
http://www.thelawcollaborative.com/marriage-vs-living-together.htm

I gotta agree with this. It sounds to me like the OP would like to get married, the GF is more reluctant. I would just say, "lets come up with a portion of the home expenses we think it's fair of you to pay, and when we get married half of this is yours". Then it's on her.  But what do I know?  We got married in college 21 years ago without a cent to our names.

Carrie

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #68 on: September 02, 2013, 09:30:01 AM »
OP, just as you have no experience in a long-lasting loving marriage that has taken no sacrifice, I have no experience in a long-term loving & committed live-in boyfriend/girlfriend relationship.

I suppose I'm the marrying type.  The thought of keeping finances separate has no appeal to me.  Everything we have earned is joint, everything we have invested is invested for both of our sakes.  There have been times where hubs has been the main earner, and there have been times where it has been equal, and eventually the plan is to swing it so that he's the one with the part time job and I'm making most of the money.  It doesn't really matter, though, because from day 1 we have been working together.  We've never had the quibble about contribution or ownership of various assets.  When there is no plan for ever being apart (plus the protection of the law), there's no reason to worry about who makes what or who pays a percentage of what and to whom.  It all goes in the pot for our mutual benefit.  I can't tell you how much freedom, contentment and happiness we both derive from this (joyous) partnership. 

It is wrong of me to assume it is difficult to achieve this type of commitment without marriage.  In reading the original question, it just didn't sound like the commitment was there, but apparently the relationship is much more stable than I gathered.

arebelspy

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #69 on: September 02, 2013, 09:32:16 AM »
I will try not to accidentally ask for relationship advice in the future.

Apparently you took offense at some of the answers?

I'm not sure what you expected - people on the internet not to have different opinions or argue?

Try not to take other people's opinions personally - I don't think anyone specifically was trying to attack you personally, just present some ideas to think about.  :)
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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #70 on: September 02, 2013, 10:19:09 AM »
I will try not to accidentally ask for relationship advice in the future.

Apparently you took offense at some of the answers?

I meant that to be funny. Maybe it wasn't, though I thought it was. I think it also acknowledges that I asked for this, so I agree with you there. I wasn't offended, I just felt like I should explain my situation since some assumptions were being made. When I say I'll be more careful in the future, it's because I didn't intend to put myself in a situation where I felt the need to defend my relationship, especially to people I don't know.

No harm done, and I'm not upset or even annoyed about anything said. It's been a good talk, and I also learned that I'm not as good at communicating through text as I thought. I think if we were all sitting around talking about this, the tone of my voice would be much more light-hearted than the tone of my text.

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #71 on: September 02, 2013, 10:33:57 AM »
Talking about relationships is notoriously difficult, even more so when it's with strangers from the intertubes and you don't have someone's body language or tone available to infer what's left unsaid.

Any post of this thread can be  interpreted them in two or more completely different ways depending on your mood, that person's avatar, or your blood sugar (I for one am always very cranky before lunch).

Good job everyone for not making OP break up with this girlfriend!

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #72 on: September 02, 2013, 10:35:56 AM »
I will try not to accidentally ask for relationship advice in the future.

Apparently you took offense at some of the answers?

I meant that to be funny. Maybe it wasn't, though I thought it was. I think it also acknowledges that I asked for this, so I agree with you there. I wasn't offended, I just felt like I should explain my situation since some assumptions were being made. When I say I'll be more careful in the future, it's because I didn't intend to put myself in a situation where I felt the need to defend my relationship, especially to people I don't know.

No harm done, and I'm not upset or even annoyed about anything said. It's been a good talk, and I also learned that I'm not as good at communicating through text as I thought. I think if we were all sitting around talking about this, the tone of my voice would be much more light-hearted than the tone of my text.

Gotcha, I totally misread that.  My bad.  :)
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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #73 on: September 02, 2013, 01:16:51 PM »
To be honest I don't think there is much difference between marriage and living together these days, especially in places where de facto couples basically have the same rights as married couples.

Just in case you're referring to common-law marriage, I just want to point out that there are hardly any states anymore that even recognize common-law marriage at all, and in the few states where it still exists, you're not "common-law married" unless you literally consider yourselves husband and wife (I'm using gendered terms bc gay common law marriage doesn't exist), publicly introduce each other as husband and wife, etc. etc. Merely living together, sharing assets and having kids doesn't cut it. A "de facto marriage" has no legal existence or weight at all, that I'm aware of, unless (1) you're in a state where common law marriage exists AND (2) you represent to the world that you are husband and wife.

limeandpepper

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #74 on: September 02, 2013, 07:25:37 PM »
^I did say some places. I live in Australia.

bikebum

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #75 on: September 02, 2013, 11:02:24 PM »
In reading the original question, it just didn't sound like the commitment was there, but apparently the relationship is much more stable than I gathered.

Yes, I unintentionally set a negative tone with my first post. That wasn't even how the actual conversation went, I was just trying to present both of our view points. I probably should have presented it as a pros and cons from both sides, rather than a dialogue. The issue was actually very easy for us to work out, a big part in thanks to the great ideas I received in this post.

I hope I didn't offend anyone with my views about relationships. Different strokes for different folks : )

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #76 on: October 22, 2013, 08:24:25 PM »
This whole thread kind of makes me sad.
I got married while at university and my loving husband paid the rent and helped towards school expenses that were not covered by scholarships.
If you love the girl, marry her.  If not, quit playing games and go your separate ways.
Maybe it's that I'm old-fashioned, but I just don't understand living with someone and loving someone without wanting to make an official commitment.  Either you love them with all your heart, or you don't.  If you don't, don't cohabitate (unless you do it as roommates and have a lease contract).  If you do, marry and start your life together building lots and lots of assets together.  Married people working towards the same goal (building wealth) can be tremendously successful, but two people who don't share the same financial goals and who have no long-term investment in the relationship could lead to disaster.

I wouldn't say that this thread makes me sad, but overall I share your sentiment.  I know there are people who find happiness in long term relationships without marriage, but it all sounds so complicated to me. 

Marriage doesn't guarantee happiness, but if you are already happy and committed, why not get married? There is simplicity and power in living a fully shared life.

Then again... to each their own. :)


sleepyguy

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #77 on: October 23, 2013, 08:40:37 AM »
I agree with this but we not so much the marriage part... just an OPTION to be honest.  I moved in with my GF after 2yrs... we've been together now 13yrs and have 2 kids... not married (Common Law under Canadian law).  We knew at the start that we would be spending rest of our lives together, we didn't need to announce it or publicize it... we're comfortable with our decision.

This whole thread kind of makes me sad.
I got married while at university and my loving husband paid the rent and helped towards school expenses that were not covered by scholarships.
If you love the girl, marry her.  If not, quit playing games and go your separate ways.
Maybe it's that I'm old-fashioned, but I just don't understand living with someone and loving someone without wanting to make an official commitment.  Either you love them with all your heart, or you don't.  If you don't, don't cohabitate (unless you do it as roommates and have a lease contract).  If you do, marry and start your life together building lots and lots of assets together.  Married people working towards the same goal (building wealth) can be tremendously successful, but two people who don't share the same financial goals and who have no long-term investment in the relationship could lead to disaster.

smalllife

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #78 on: October 23, 2013, 10:57:04 AM »
Marriage doesn't guarantee happiness, but if you are already happy and committed, why not get married? There is simplicity and power in living a fully shared life.

Then again... to each their own. :)

You can have a fully shared life without marriage . . . . the two are not synonymous (and given the divorce rate, I would hesitate to even say they are correlated).  Marriage is a legal certificate, usually obtained by two people who intend to share their life together.  Commitment and love have nothing to do with that piece of paper.

gimp

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #79 on: October 23, 2013, 11:42:04 AM »
Loved reading your perspective, Nords.

Dating another engineer alleviates the issue somewhat. She sometimes gives up and asks me to do something, then later copies a more efficient strategy. But suggesting one off the bat rarely goes over well... whether it's cooking or board layout, gotta wait for the opportune moment and not jump in.

CommonCents

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #80 on: October 23, 2013, 12:05:37 PM »
You can have a fully shared life without marriage . . . . the two are not synonymous (and given the divorce rate, I would hesitate to even say they are correlated).  Marriage is a legal certificate, usually obtained by two people who intend to share their life together.  Commitment and love have nothing to do with that piece of paper.

I agree that you can love and commit to a person without a marriage certificate, but I wanted to challenge the idea that marriage is "just" a legal certificate.  It gives a variety of rights: to inheritance, to benefits such as social security and health insurance, to make health care decisions, and so forth.  See here for a list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States.  You can create legal documents to accomplish some these goals, but it is costly.  For example, if you will your money to a non-spouse, there are significant tax ramifications (see the recent Supreme Court decision on this one!) in addition to the legal costs for drawing up these documents.

In addition, some believe in other aspects of marriage such as religious or social.

Nords

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #81 on: October 23, 2013, 12:06:51 PM »
Loved reading your perspective, Nords.
Dating another engineer alleviates the issue somewhat. She sometimes gives up and asks me to do something, then later copies a more efficient strategy. But suggesting one off the bat rarely goes over well... whether it's cooking or board layout, gotta wait for the opportune moment and not jump in.
Thanks!

When I married my spouse I had no idea that a few years later I'd be living in Hawaii and sharing a beautiful home in with two hot chicks.  A couple decades of that lifestyle has taught me that the longer a guy can keep his mouth shut, the better he gets along with everyone.  Even when it's plain for all to see that his idea is clearly better...

smalllife

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #82 on: October 23, 2013, 12:13:57 PM »
You can have a fully shared life without marriage . . . . the two are not synonymous (and given the divorce rate, I would hesitate to even say they are correlated).  Marriage is a legal certificate, usually obtained by two people who intend to share their life together.  Commitment and love have nothing to do with that piece of paper.

I agree that you can love and commit to a person without a marriage certificate, but I wanted to challenge the idea that marriage is "just" a legal certificate.  It gives a variety of rights: to inheritance, to benefits such as social security and health insurance, to make health care decisions, and so forth.  See here for a list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States.  You can create legal documents to accomplish some these goals, but it is costly.  For example, if you will your money to a non-spouse, there are significant tax ramifications (see the recent Supreme Court decision on this one!) in addition to the legal costs for drawing up these documents.

In addition, some believe in other aspects of marriage such as religious or social.

It's funny, because your response is usually what I say in these conversations.  I was specifically challenging the idea that a couple cannot have a joint life, shared commitments, love, and mutual respect without marriage.   For the social component, which is what I was referring to, the certificate does not make one couple's relationship better than another's.

jrhampt

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #83 on: October 23, 2013, 01:06:24 PM »
eh, I've done both.  My spouse and I have been married for 6 years, but we lived together for about 8 years prior to getting married.  We have always had separate finances (and names), and this did not change with marriage.  There were some advantages to getting married, namely: more options for health insurance, my family was a lot happier and fully accepted him into the family, and now if I lose a family member, he gets to go to the funeral with me using bereavement leave, and vice versa.  I don't feel that we're any more committed to each other than we ever were, though.

bikebum

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #84 on: January 30, 2014, 07:21:23 PM »
I forgot about this thread. Here's an update in case anyone is interested:

Everything is going great! GF still pays rent/contributions (whatever you want to call it) at discounted rate. Neither of us feel weird about it; we actually have fun negotiating who is going to pay how much for other stuff too. She's back in school now, so she will just pay what she can afford.

Some couples just lump all the money together and don't worry about it. We like to keep ours separate and make sure both of us feel we are getting a good deal. I guess they are sort of opposite solutions to the same problem of not letting money hurt a relationship.

Here's some irony: she wants to get married. So all you people telling me to just marry her may get your way, haha! She
offered to do a prenup. We'd both need attorneys for it to be valid in my state. Don't want to do that, but I also don't want to mix my assets with her debts. Why can't you just check a box on the marriage certificate that says you'll keep your stuff separate? I'll figure something out. I still don't see much benefit to marriage, but I want to make my lady happy. And even though I don't care much for the institution, I am honored that she wants me to be her husband.

purplish

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #85 on: January 30, 2014, 08:25:15 PM »
My current boyfriend has a signed rental agreement from me, and pays me rent based on current going price in the area.  My last boyfriend, who was going to live with me at my other property, I was going to have a rental agreement with as well, but split all bills 50/50.  Sound cold?  Guess what, it clears up any potential issues, and both people are contributing.  I wouldn't want to live with someone who's looking for a free ride.

bikebum

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #86 on: January 30, 2014, 08:40:19 PM »
My current boyfriend has a signed rental agreement from me, and pays me rent based on current going price in the area.  My last boyfriend, who was going to live with me at my other property, I was going to have a rental agreement with as well, but split all bills 50/50.  Sound cold?  Guess what, it clears up any potential issues, and both people are contributing.  I wouldn't want to live with someone who's looking for a free ride.

If my GF owned a house that we lived in together, I'd be fine with signing a rental agreement. A lot of people don't realize how easy it is to forget the terms of verbal agreements.

Daleth

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #87 on: January 30, 2014, 08:53:54 PM »
Here's some irony: she wants to get married. So all you people telling me to just marry her may get your way, haha! She
offered to do a prenup. We'd both need attorneys for it to be valid in my state. Don't want to do that, but I also don't want to mix my assets with her debts. Why can't you just check a box on the marriage certificate that says you'll keep your stuff separate? I'll figure something out. I still don't see much benefit to marriage, but I want to make my lady happy. And even though I don't care much for the institution, I am honored that she wants me to be her husband.

I doubt you need a prenup, but you should both go spend an hour talking to a lawyer just to get clear on how your state views each spouse's assets and debt. In most or possibly all states, the debts that spouse A incurred BEFORE the marriage will remain spouse A's debts--they will not become spouse B's debts; spouse B will not be liable for them and no creditor can come after spouse B for them. (See link 1 below).

Also, in non-community property states, even debts that spouse A incurs AFTER the marriage are only spouse A's debts; creditors can't come after spouse B for them. There are exceptions--for instance, if spouse A gets a mortgage to provide a home for the family, or runs up credit card debt buying groceries for the family, that might be considered spouse B's debts. (See link 2 below). Are you in a community property state? How does your state treat debt incurred by one spouse during marriage? Go to a lawyer and see. The same kinds of lawyers who handle prenups and divorces are the ones with the knowledge to educate you guys on this.

Finally, if you get married and then unfortunately get divorced, even in non-community property states courts may split marital assets and debts (ones incurred AFTER marriage by either spouse) however they deem fair--for instance, I think it's fairly common for courts to say, "well, after the couple got married, spouse A got student loans in order to further his/her career and bring in more income for the family, and then spent years supporting the family on that higher income, so either spouse B has to pay off some of those debts, or spouse B has to get somewhat less than 50% of the marital assets so as to compensate spouse A for that."

Premarital debts: http://www.bankrate.com/finance/debt/wife-not-married-to-spouse-s-old-debts-1.aspx

Debts incurred during marriage: http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/debt-marriage-owe-spouse-debts-29572.html


Everything is going great! GF still pays rent/contributions (whatever you want to call it) at discounted rate. Neither of us feel weird about it; we actually have fun negotiating who is going to pay how much for other stuff too. She's back in school now, so she will just pay what she can afford.

Some couples just lump all the money together and don't worry about it. We like to keep ours separate and make sure both of us feel we are getting a good deal. I guess they are sort of opposite solutions to the same problem of not letting money hurt a relationship.

Someone (including me) might have said this already--I don't want to re-read the whole thread to check--but for future reference, when she's out of school and working, here's some food for thought: some people don't think it's truly fair for couples to split household expenses 50-50 unless the two of them both earn about the same amount of money.

My DH and I split expenses proportionally to our incomes, because we both think that WHAT TRULY MATTERS IS TIME--in other words, we should split time (a.k.a. time spent working) equally. So, for example, if I have to work 7 days to pay my part of our mortgage, then he should have to work 7 days to pay his part of our mortgage. I earn twice as much as him (such is life as a corporate lawyer), so if we split expenses 50-50 I'd be done paying "my half" by like the tenth of the month, while he would have to keep working until the 20th to pay "his half"--and thus I would have 20 days worth of salary to do with as I please every month--to invest, spend, whatever--while he only had 10 days. How is that fair? Why should one of us work twice as long as the other to pay for "their half" of our joint expenses? So to be truly fair, we split all our joint expenses (mortgage, utilities, groceries...) 66% (me)/33% (him). That way, although we contribute very different amounts of MONEY to our expenses, we each contribute the same amount of work, a.k.a. the same amount of time.

And this was, BTW, my idea--I just don't think it's fair for me to have orders of magnitude more "spare money" than him, or fair to him to have to work twice as long to pay for the things we share, just because I went into a career that pays a ton. And this setup also gives us a lot more flexibility; as our job situation changes, we just do the math and recalibrate how much each of us pays. So we don't have to look at, for instance, whether this really exciting dream of a job opportunity for spouse A would still enable spouse A to pay "his/her half" of the expenses; instead we look at whether we, as a couple, can pay all our expenses (by recalibrating the percentages) while allowing spouse A to pursue his/her dream.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2014, 08:55:38 PM by Daleth »

bikebum

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #88 on: January 30, 2014, 10:12:19 PM »
Daleth, thanks for the suggestions. I am pretty certain I live in a community property state. I think you are right about assets/debts acquired before vs. after marriage. Here's a question though: Say Jill is a working girl who owns a house and contributes to retirement accounts and Jack is in college. Jack and Jill get married and intend to share expenses once Jack graduates. But Jack can't get a good job, even though he is smart and ambitious, so Jill pays for everything. If they later divorce, wouldn't Jack be entitled to half of the assets Jill accumulated during the marriage, including principal on mortgage payments and retirement contributions? So Jill would have paid all the bills and then have to hand over half of said assets to Jack, maybe pay alimony too? Sounds like a crappy deal for Jill. Am I missing something?

I remember the part about dividing expenses based on income rather than 50/50. Sounds like a good idea. So do you guys work about the same number of hours? I guess if you don't you can divvy it up based on hourly pay rather than total income. I think this would be more fair if one spouses job demands more hours than the others.

EUmustache

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #89 on: January 31, 2014, 05:25:00 AM »
Here's some irony: she wants to get married. So all you people telling me to just marry her may get your way, haha! She
offered to do a prenup. We'd both need attorneys for it to be valid in my state. Don't want to do that, but I also don't want to mix my assets with her debts. Why can't you just check a box on the marriage certificate that says you'll keep your stuff separate? I'll figure something out. I still don't see much benefit to marriage, but I want to make my lady happy. And even though I don't care much for the institution, I am honored that she wants me to be her husband.

Here's a question though: Say Jill is a working girl who owns a house and contributes to retirement accounts and Jack is in college. Jack and Jill get married and intend to share expenses once Jack graduates. But Jack can't get a good job, even though he is smart and ambitious, so Jill pays for everything. If they later divorce, wouldn't Jack be entitled to half of the assets Jill accumulated during the marriage, including principal on mortgage payments and retirement contributions? So Jill would have paid all the bills and then have to hand over half of said assets to Jack, maybe pay alimony too? Sounds like a crappy deal for Jill. Am I missing something?

You seem to be forgetting that a marriage goes both ways. You support her. She supports you. This may not always be financial support. If you're so worried about getting a 'crappy deal' or 'not wanting to take on her debts' I'm wondering if you should go through with it just to 'make [your] lady happy.' What if you loose your job, or get sick and you need to depend on her income for a while or for the rest of your lives. Do you think she'd say she's too focused on paying down HER student loan debt (because lord knows you didn't want to take it on) to help with that mortgage (your debt) that would need to be paid? The tables can turn - would you want her posting on this forum saying she doesn't want to be responsible for the mortgage her (possibly future) husband took out before they were married if things went south? Full disclosure: I brought more student loan debt to my marriage than my husband did, and we've combined our finances. And no, I don't think EVERY couple needs to combine finances - it doesn't work for everyone, but I think in most cases it makes the most sense. But I think you need to take a closer look at your attitude towards what is "mine" and what is "hers" - if the debt is always hers, will the house always be yours? Know that the way things are now, may not be representative of how they'll always be.

Anyway, my girlfriend (and I) doesn't want an old-fashioned relationship. She doesn't want to be the stay-at-home type whose husband/boyfriend pays the bills. We both want to earn money AND do house chores together. She doesn't want to depend on my financial stability. Sometimes she doesn't have much choice, which doesn't bother me but it does bother her. I have given her lots of money when she needed. She says they are loans and she will pay them back. If she does, great. If she doesn't, she can't afford to and that's fine. If we have kids, we will both do it all together, except for the obvious mother-only roles, which I will support in any way I can.

I get this. This is a pretty accurate description my husbandís and my approach to our relationship. We are partners. Full stop. However, that doesnít mean we donít lean on each other from time to time. He had a great work opportunity that we moved for, and that meant I had to give up my job and income. I hated that he was the primary breadwinner for a while, but as his partner I supported that opportunity and as my partner he took the financial lead. But since I quit my job, I couldn't afford my student loan payments. However, I never would have quit my job had it not been for my husband. So until I found a new job, and resumed contributing to our joint account, it was mostly his income that paid the student loan payments. Does that mean he "took on my debt?" No, I very much still see that debt as primarily my responsibility, but he also sees it as his responsibility. Because we are partners and have shared goals it would not be beneficial to either of us if those payments did not get made. Bottom line, if the roles were reversed, I'd be fine with covering his payments if I was the primary bread winner for a while. And I'm sure your girlfriend feels that way about your mortgage if something were to happen to your job.

My apologies if this sounds like a rant, but I guess some of your posts struck a chord with me and perhaps even hit a little close to home. That said, this is coming from my own personal experiences (and thus personal bias), so maybe take a step back and look at your own relationship through a different lens and see if it adds any value.

Daleth

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #90 on: January 31, 2014, 08:41:55 AM »
Daleth, thanks for the suggestions. I am pretty certain I live in a community property state. I think you are right about assets/debts acquired before vs. after marriage. Here's a question though: Say Jill is a working girl who owns a house and contributes to retirement accounts and Jack is in college. Jack and Jill get married and intend to share expenses once Jack graduates. But Jack can't get a good job, even though he is smart and ambitious, so Jill pays for everything. If they later divorce, wouldn't Jack be entitled to half of the assets Jill accumulated during the marriage, including principal on mortgage payments and retirement contributions? So Jill would have paid all the bills and then have to hand over half of said assets to Jack, maybe pay alimony too? Sounds like a crappy deal for Jill. Am I missing something?

I remember the part about dividing expenses based on income rather than 50/50. Sounds like a good idea. So do you guys work about the same number of hours? I guess if you don't you can divvy it up based on hourly pay rather than total income. I think this would be more fair if one spouses job demands more hours than the others.

It would take a little more math if one of you worked distinctly more hours than the other on a regular basis. That said, if one of you is working 40hrs and the other is working 15hrs but is also doing all the housework and/or taking care of your child, that's a different story.

You would need to talk to a lawyer in your state to get an answer to your first question. Sorry--being a lawyer I know enough to know when you need to talk to someone other than me.

electriceagle

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #91 on: January 31, 2014, 10:50:39 AM »
You didn't ask for advice on dating someone with a large sense of entitlement and rather little respect for you. You didn't ask for that advice and I'm not going to give it; I won't say one word.

I will recommend that you check out whether your state has common law marriage. If so, you may already be married.

To me, it sounds like you are "dating" not "partners". My advice is to create a written roommate agreement  -- write it as if you were getting a roommate from craigslist -- with a rather low price. Roommates pay a portion of your principal without acquiring interest in the property.


Edit to reflect later posts: Later posts portray a relationship that sounds more stable than earlier posts.

> Why can't you just check a box on the marriage certificate that says you'll keep your stuff separate?

They have this in France. S'appelle le pacte civil de solidarite.  About 40% of partnered couples opt for PACS rather than marriage; they choose couple-by-couple how to arrange their stuff.
« Last Edit: January 31, 2014, 11:16:52 AM by electriceagle »

Daleth

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Re: Share ownership of my house with girlfriend?
« Reply #92 on: January 31, 2014, 07:10:55 PM »
I will recommend that you check out whether your state has common law marriage. If so, you may already be married.

MYTHBUSTER TIME! Even the nine US states that still recognize common-law marriages have a key requirement: the couple has to consider themselves married and hold themselves out as married, i.e., describe each other socially as my husband/my wife; typically holding themselves out as married also includes having the same last name and filing tax returns together. Long story short, just living together doesn't cut it. For that matter, even having kids doesn't cut it.

http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/common-law-marriage.aspx

And some states that you may see in lists of states that recognize it actually don't recognize any new common-law marriages; they have laws that say common-law marriages created before X date count, but later ones don't. (For instance, that date is 10/10/1991 in Ohio and 1/1/2005 in Pennsylvania.)
Here's a link that refers to that:
http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/common-law-marriage.aspx