Domestic Partnership Agreements: The Home and Joint Expenses

Domestic Partnership Agreements Home and Joint Expenses. Keychain with home charm.This second installment of a 7-part series about domestic partnership agreements discusses the home and joint expenses. 

Partners Acquiring a Home Together

Two people may acquire a home together. They may contribute different amounts to the purchase price. During their relationship, they may contribute different amounts towards improvements, the mortgage, insurance, and property taxes. Further, they will undoubtedly have home and joint expenses.

Recognizing these contributions, domestic partnership agreements may establish a fair formula for splitting net proceeds if (i) the home is later sold or, (ii) if one person dies before the other and they are still together, a buyout from the decedent’s estate. The couple may say how they’ll handle their joint household expenses.

Calculators: Growth in Real Property and Accounts Owned Before the Domestic Partnership

Each partner may bring separate real property or personal property into their domestic partnership.

Many couples agree any growth – no matter why – in value of such property during their relationship remains the owner’s separate property.  That may be their written agreement no matter how long their relationship lasts.

Still other couples, however, may consider alternative ways to handle growth in value. That way, if during their relationship, the value grows from passive market growth or from either person’s contributions, they can allocate the growth fairly.

Calculators useful in the marital context may help the couple think about what might be “fair” allocation of asset growth during their domestic partnership.  One real property calculator helps calculate increased value of real property.  The other personal property calculator helps calculate growth in value of other assets, like investment accounts.

Questions to think about:

(a)  If the couple has children, are still together, and one parent dies, what would they like to happen with the home?

(b)  Is the answer different if they’ve been together for 2 years or 15 years? Would they want the surviving parent and children to stay in the home until there are no longer dependent children?

(c)  If the couple has children and one wants to end the relationship, what would they like to happen with the home? Is the answer different if they’ve been together for 2 years or 15 years?

(d)  If the couple has no children together, how would they like the home handled if one dies before the other or if one gives wants to end the relationship?

Handling Home and Joint Household Expenses

A committed couple may provide for a joint household account or other joint accounts to pay home and joint expenses. Their agreement may allow deposits into joint accounts of funds either party may earn.   One may agree some distributions from a trust will go into the joint account. The couple may decide a percentage of their separate money will go into a joint account for household bills or improvements.

Joint funds may be deemed joint property.  But ownership in trusts or each party’s separate accounts, and any growth in the value of such ownership or interests during the parties’ relationship, ordinarily would remain separate.

Read more about Florida Domestic Partnership Agreements: 

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