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At one point in American history, it was considered scandalous for unmarried people to live together in the same home. Today, those dated social values have largely been forgotten, and an increasing amount of young people are choosing to live together without formally tying the knot. In some cases, these relationships can last for decades.

Just like any long-term relationship, the likelihood that you will acquire property with your significant other increases as time goes by. It’s not uncommon for unmarried couples to purchase vehicles, homes or possibly even establish businesses together.

Unfortunately, Arizona courts to not automatically extend the same protections to unmarried cohabitating couples as they do to married couples. This can be especially difficult in situations where unmarried couples who own homes together decide to go their separate ways.

Ideally, unmarried couples would consult an attorney and establish partnership agreements before they decided to break up. That way there would be a prior understanding between both parties about how the property should be divided, if and when their relationship fell apart.

However, even without being married or having a partnership agreement on file you can still find a remedy to your property woes if you decide to end your relationship. Arizona laws allow for you to petition the court to partition property in cases where two parties jointly own that property.

If you and your significant other both have your names on a title for property there are a few things you should know. Your attorney can help you negotiate a voluntary division of that property. Additionally, your attorney can assemble your complaint to compel a court to divide that property and determine the best way to split that property between both parties.

Source: Arizona Revised Statutes, “12-1211. Compelling partition; complaint” accessed Feb. 26, 2015

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