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Rights to home ownership when breaking up

  • Derp
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22 Aug 12 #351051 by Derp
Topic started by Derp
I''m looking for advice on what will happen with the home I am still currently paying the mortgage for while I am separating.

The background:

I was with my girlfriend (we did not marry) for the last 4 years. We live in Florida. We dated in high school, she got pregnant and we have been living together since as a couple raising our children together (we had a 2nd child last year). Both were unplanned and yet now I could never imagine life without my beautiful children. I love them more than anything. We have 2 children together.

We are in the low income bracket, work hard to make ends meet and live in a small town. Our combined income is about $18k annually. Last year, a family member gave me a monetary gift for a down payment on a home to help me be able to provide a roof over my family''s heads. I was advised by the bank & mortgage officers to put my girlfriend down as co-owner on the property & homeowner deed (I am listed as primary) and to list her on the mortgage.

I recently learned she has been unfaithful and has been having an affair with her boss. After confronting her she let me know she no longer wants to be with me and when she is angry will threaten to take the home and go for sole custody of our children.

Since the confrontation she has become increasingly hostile. She is telling anyone who will listen I am a bad parent (untrue), telling me she is going to take the house and threatening to try to take our children away from me saying she''s going to make me pay child support. This is all very scary to me. A month ago I would have never seen this coming. I thought we would be together forever. She recently threatened to hit herself, call the police and tell them I did it saying they would kick me out of the house.

I have always been the one to make the payments on the mortgage, pay all utilities, cell phone bills, etc. I have no debt, next to nothing in savings and a steady job that pays little but is steady. Ultimately want to ensure there is no way she can take the house since it was paid for with my and my family''s money. I also want to have our children live with me in that house to give the best possible upbringing to my children. I do not want to deny her the right to visit even though her behavior of late has me questioning her fitness to be a role model for our children.

Two goals:

1 - keep my house
2 - keep my children

Two questions:

1) How can I protect my home from being at risk of being taken from her? Does she have a right to claim to the home?

I need advice on what I type of agreement need I need to have her sign where she would agree the house is mine and she will not attempt to take it (free options and free legal advice on this needed). Where would I find a document like this? Do I need to remove her name from the deed? She signed a letter that says she denies all ownership of the home (the family member that made the monetary gift insisted on this) but it was not drawn up by a lawyer and not notarized. If we did ever go to court would that letter hold up?

2) How would show I am the right parent for custody of our children? Does Florida favor the mother in these situations where we are not married & do not want to keep living together? If she was open to it, is there a way for us to agree legally on custody rights without going to court?

I realize the children question is separate and might have a lot of what ifs but figured I should ask anyway.

Thank you in advance for any advice. This is all very emotionally and mentally overwhelming.

  • LittleMrMike
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22 Aug 12 #351055 by LittleMrMike
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I do not wish to appear unhelpful, but this is one of those cases where, to be honest, I am not sure whether you could bring proceedings in England and Wales. The fact that you are a British citizen is not, in itself, enough.

I am married to a citizen of the USA, and probably know a little more about USA divorce than the average wikivorcer - not that I am in a divorce situation myself.

Some American states are known as '' community of property '' states, where all possessions are shared. It really matters quite a lot whether Florida is one of them. There are many cases where proceedings can be brought in more than one jurisdiction, but in your case it looks to me as though you are settled in Florida and have a permanent residence there, and that you are '' domiciled '' there. The expression '' domicile '' is a critical concept in private international law and in plain English it means the country you call '' home ''. As I said, it looks to me that, although you undoubtedly have a '' domicile of origin '' in England and Wales, your '' domicile of choice '' is Florida, and right now - my guess is that you can''t bring proceedings in the UK.

Now normally where you have a choice of jurisdiction the rule is that the financials are determined in accordance with the law of the territory where the Petition is brought. So it can be critical to know what the position would be if you divorced in England as compared to what it would be if you divorce in Florida. Put simply, if you have the choice, you choose whichever is likely to be more favourable.

Wikivorce has many virtues but we are not qualified to advise on the law in a foreign jurisdiction.

I would say you need advice from your position from a Florida attorney.

LMM

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22 Aug 12 #351056 by LittleMrMike
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I''ve just checked it out. Florida is not a community of property state.

LMM

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