My longtime girlfriend and I moved to Florida three years ago. We rented a house for a year and bought a house together in our favorite area. I wasn’t working at the time, she was, so we agreed that it made sense not to include me in the loan application, even though my credit score was higher than hers (but we both have what would be called “good” scores – north of 725 and 800). I believe the mortgage-loan originator thought it was the right way to go. We proposed a house signed by both of us and it was accepted.
She had proceeds from the sale of a previous home and paid most of the inspection costs herself. We put down 20% for the purchase and took a loan for the rest. She paid 20% more than I paid. Both of our names were on the closing documents – not specifically related to the mortgage – and both of our names were on the deed.
I also bought the open space next to mine with my own money and put both our names on that deed. That was a different transaction with a different element of home buying.
We continued to make half the monthly mortgage payments on the house we both shared. We also spent money on home improvements and upkeep: new countertops, appliances, flooring, paint, and more. I paid for some expenses, she paid for more. I did all the home improvement work myself.
““The closing company said they don’t normally split wire transfers and I’m fine with that.”“
After 17 months we decided to sell our house. Looking back now, it looks like we sold at the peak of the current Florida real estate boom. The house sold for almost double what we paid. After paying off the mortgage, the net income was less than $200,000.
At closing, all proceeds were transferred to her bank account, which I agreed to because it was simple. The closing company said they don’t normally split wire transfers and I’m fine with that. I thought we were very strong and I had no worries.
It’s been five months since the shutdown, and things are a mess between us. I am holding back when I ask for my share of the income. My position is that we should both be reimbursed for our expenses and split the rest 50/50.
I believe the costs/expenses for upgrades, new equipment, inspections, etc. could be around $30,000, but mine is around $20,000.
In this example, that leaves you with roughly $150,000 to split equally, so $75,000 each. $25,000 was transferred to me, leaving her with almost $175,000. I feel like I have another $70,000 due to me – my profit share ($75,000 + my expenses $20,000 = $95,000).
Am I wrong in my thinking? What should we include and exclude in our bill? For example, in her list of expenses, she includes a monthly cable/internet bill, which seems fine to me, but this is also a bill I have paid for our rental for 13 months, but I have not received any money back.
Any guidance you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Fair in Florida
This conflict could have been predicted in the tea leaves.
Nothing happens by chance. Of course, this was easy. Only To the person who receives the money. It’s never easy for someone whose bank account is empty. You should proceed accordingly. This was not a turn of events. No matter what your girlfriend (or ex-girlfriend) is dealing with – you’re done knowing she’s holding all the cards. I’m guessing they cleared $200,000 after capital gains tax.
Overall, I agree with your logic about splitting costs, but that doesn’t get you very far. Cable bill payments are the least of your worries. The longer you go through the details, the longer the money will stay in your ex-girlfriend’s bank account, and the more likely it will be lost or transferred to other bank accounts. She can no longer give you what she says she doesn’t have, and as time goes on it becomes harder to find the money.
You were both on the deed, and you both had a 50% share in the property, so the law is on your side. Consult an attorney to figure out a plan of action, but before you get into a long, drawn-out legal battle with your girlfriend, suggest hiring a mediator to help you sort out the sticking points. Be prepared to compromise. She may be picking you up and throwing rocks at you until she decides her next move. Apparently, $25,000 is not enough for you.
“‘You’ve both paid the bills and invested in improvements, but you’ve invested in a 50/50 joint property.’“
If it’s clear that you don’t want to split her income fairly, be prepared to take legal action. But you’ve both spent money on the property, and it’s wise to let your ex know that if he wants to push you into litigation, he can take 50% of the proceeds from the full debt. you Both They paid bills and invested in improvements, but invested 50/50 in jointly owned property. If she’s smart, she should live with you now.
Another possible source of leverage is another property you bought together. If you file for bankruptcy to sell that property now, you’ll lose money and she’ll lose a big profit, so it makes sense for you and her to stay on good terms — regardless of the state of your relationship — to ensure a big payday in the future. Today, it would be unwise to pass on a profitable business on the street for short-term gains.
She has physical control of $175,000 but no legal standing to secure it. Pay $200,000 minus the difference between your down payment and renewal. However, there is no doubt that it will be a more difficult negotiation with her money. It’s tempting to speculate what she might do with $175,000, and she might be giving a variety of reasons why she should keep the lion’s share. A mediator should give her a deadline to transfer the agreed amount.
Attorney if she doesn’t meet the deadline.
Learn how to shake up your finances The best new ideas in the money festival September 21 and September 22 in New York. Join Carrie Schwab, President of the Charles Schwab Foundation.
check out Moneyist’s personal Facebook Group, where we find answers to life’s most challenging financial issues. Readers write to me in all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or weigh in on the latest Moneyist columns.
The funder regrets not being able to answer questions individually.
By emailing your questions, you consent to their publication on MarketWatch anonymously. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story or versions of it in all media and platforms, including by third parties..
‘I committed financial infidelity’: I racked up $50,000 in debt to help my needy son – and didn’t tell my husband. How can I get out of this mess?
‘He pays half the bills in the house even though there are six adults there.’ My son lives with his father and stepmother. They use it. How can I get him out?
‘I’m stuck in a penny-pincher’s mindset’: Me and I bought a house, but he only wants to buy high-end stuff. How do we agree?