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“House-Mates”

For Better Or Worse

by CoCo Diong

When a neighbor mentioned that she was selling her house to move in with her boyfriend, I suggested she rent it out instead, just in case the relationship took an unexpected curve.  Luckily, she took my advice.  Six months after she moved in with him, she came home unexpectedly and caught him in a very indiscreet position with another woman.  The following stories are indicative of the many challenges singles face when they enter into financial bonds with no legal leg to stand on.  Studies show that many today are opting to live together rather than marry.  Some see it as a way to protect their bank accounts and assets against the possibility of divorce. 

  • Tom and Cheryl were involved for three years when Tom decided to move in with Cheryl.  The agreement was that they would split all the bills down the middle.  This agreement worked fine, until Tom lost his job seven months later, and was unable to find work.  After five months of footing all the bills, Cheryl asked Tom to move out of the apartment, because she wanted to end the relationship.  When he refused, she changed the locks on the door while he was out, and wouldn’t let him back in. 
  • Beth and Chuck had been dating four years when they decided to buy a home together.  The plan was to marry after Chuck’s divorce became final.  Though Beth shared the house payments, Chuck’s name was the only name on the mortgage due to her credit issues.  One year after they moved into the house, Chuck informed Betty he decided to reconcile with his wife and she would have to move out of the home by the next day because his wife was moving in.  Betty had no grounds to stand on legally.  She refused to leave and the police had to be called to assist her in leaving.
  • Bob and Christy, a committed couple, had been together five years. They decided to pool their money and buy a condo together.  Christy had filed for bankruptcy before, so they decided to put the condo in Bob’s name.  When Chris’ mother warned her against the action, she told her mother that she trusted Bob completely, and she knew he would be fair to her if anything happened between them.  Five years later, Bob announced to Chris that he had to sell the condo because it was about to go into foreclosure.  He confessed that he had not been paying the mortgage, because of a gambling problem.  She also learned that he had refinanced the condo a few times and didn’t share the equity he’d gotten out of it.  Because her name wasn’t on anything, he was able to operate autonomously, and she was left out in the cold.

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