Making The Complex

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Splitting up: Determining what you own when you’re not married

Ending a long-term relationship is difficult. Even though you never got married, you’re facing complex issues with regard to who owns what property. The reality is that married couples in Louisiana retain certain community property rights that are not afforded to couples who never legally married.

If there are certain items that you want to make sure you retain, then you may be able to prove that you own them. How? Keep receipts, provide titles and have registration numbers. The more proof you have to say something is yours, the better.


When you go through a separation but were never married, you and your partner are each only entitled to your own retirement accounts. There may be an exception if one of you added the other onto the account and can show that part of the retirement was intended to go to you or your partner. The same idea applies to other items in your relationship; if you can show you both used them or both purchased something together, then the property is likely shared.


Homes are one of the easier assets to divide, even if you aren’t married. Why? Someone has to have his or her name on the loan. Fortunately, even if your name isn’t on the loan, you can try to get some of your money back if you can show that you paid for the home in some way. For instance, if your partner took out the loan but you made each payment out of your bank account, you’d have a good basis for claiming that money or a portion of the property’s value.

If you’re considering cohabitation, consider creating an agreement beforehand. Such an agreement makes it easier to determine what you own if your relationship ends.


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