Shackin’ Up, Co-owner, Relationship, Property, Co-Sign, Deed, House, Agreement, Signing Agreements, Agreement Creation, Legal Process.


What To Do When… The Unwed Breakup.

What To Do When Legal Chat Podcast... As Seen on the News from Critzer Cardani PC

WTDW Podcast Home Page – What To Do When… A Dummies Guide to the Legalverse

The objective of the What To Do When… podcast is to discuss common legal scenarios faced by everyday citizens in Virginia. Critzer and Cardani practice law throughout Virginia and focus their practice around the state’s capital of Richmond, in the Piedmont region. Tune in and subscribe to learn about legal topics such as reckless driving by speeding, bad lawyers, Will Knows Weed, juvenile defense, juvenile sex crimes, reckless driving, the legalization of marijuana in Virginia, divorce 101, Child Support, There is Still Hope, and others.


What To Do When… The Unwed Breakup.

On this legal video podcast chat with a Family Law Legal Agreement subject matter in our What To Do When… podcast series, please join our hosts Jackie Critzer and Scott Cardani as they share about What To Do When… The Unwed Breakup. This video and audio podcast episode focuses on a legal process where those who are unwed breakup.

Tune in today for not only our top 3 take-aways, but also some chat about the following subject matters and other helpful action items from a ‘legal chat slant’ from Critzer Cardani’s legal partners.

* Legal issues in unwed breakups.
* Property rights in non-marital relationships.
* Property ownership and division in a long-term relationship
* Prenuptial agreements and co-ownership.
* The importance of pre-planning and agreement contracts for unmarried couples.

Watch the Video, Listen to the Audio version and / or Follow, Like, and Share… “What To Do When…” Legal Chat Podcast from Critzer Cardani PC.

The objective of the What To Do When… podcast is to discuss common legal scenarios faced by everyday citizens in Virginia. Critzer and Cardani practice law throughout Virginia and focus their practice around the state’s capital of Richmond, in the Piedmont region. Tune in and subscribe to learn about legal topics such as reckless driving by speeding, bad lawyers, Will Knows Weed, juvenile defense, juvenile sex crimes, reckless driving, the legalization of marijuana in Virginia, divorce 101, Child Support, There is Still Hope and others.

Thank you for sending us your feedback, questions, or topic suggestions for future #WTDW | What To Do When… episodes by emailing [email protected].

#unwed #happilyunmarried #unmarried #theunmarriedwife #unmarriedcouples #justunmarried #unmarriedbreakdown #agreements #WTDW #whattodo #whattodowhen #podcast #video #videochat #videopodcast #law #Lawyers #lawyerchat #LegalPodcast #legalhelp #legaladvice #legalchat #chat #RealTalk #REALLAW #RealLawyers #realpeople #legalexperience #reallife #cclawva #critzercardani #RichmondVA #richmondvalawyer #richmondlaw #VirginiaLawyer #virginialaw #legalservices #knowyourrights #innocentuntilprovenguilty @critzercardani 


What To Do When… Intro 00:01
Welcome to What To Do When… A podcast from real lawyers with real perspective, where we explore a variety of legal issues and scenarios. Each week we focus on a new topic and discuss what to do when and if any of these legal scenarios ever happened to you or a loved one. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, our hosts offer their unique perspectives and insights on a range of real life legal situations.

Jackie Critzer 0:28

Hi, again, it’s us here at Critzer Cardani in Richmond, Virginia. I’m Jackie.

Scott Cardani 0:34

I’m Scott. Jackie, what’s on the docket for today?

Jackie Critzer 0:36
What To Do When… The Unwed Breakup.

Scott Cardani 0:42
So just so we’re clear, we’re talking about people who never got married but maybe live together.

Jackie Critzer 0:46
Shackin’ up.

Scott Cardani 0:47
Shackin’ up, as the old saying goes, Why is that a problem?

Jackie Critzer 0:50
Oh, I mean… it’s not. You can live together and and then break up and go about your merry way. But the problems that might exist, maybe, maybe you all bought a house together, but only put it in one person’s name.

Scott Cardani 1:04
Or put it in both people’s names.

Jackie Critzer 1:06
Okay, well, let’s talk about both. So if it’s in Scott and I start living together, maybe we’re just roommates.

Scott Cardani 1:13

Jackie Critzer 1:13
It doesn’t have to be any kind of formal relationship. We’re just roommates.

Scott Cardani 1:16
Really, that’s true.

Jackie Critzer 1:16
But we decided it’d be my house. I’d put it in my name. I’m on the deed, sucker. And he over the course of some time years, well, he contributes. Right? He helps pay the mortgage mortgage is $2,000 a month, he pays me $1,000 and I put it on the mortgage, and everything’s great. Well, Scott, decides that it’s time not to live together anymore.

Scott Cardani 1:39
Can you blame me? I’m just saying.

Jackie Critzer 1:42
He’s moved on in life. And now he wants half the equity in the house. Do you get it?

Scott Cardani 1:51
Whooooooo….. This is the problem, folks. And this is what we want to talk about right here. There are mechanisms to go to court, you can file a partition suit and things like that to try to figure that out. But the difference is, when you buy something in a marriage context, there’s there’s protections and there’s vehicles.

Jackie Critzer 2:08
Well, but if I’m on the I’m the only one on the deed, it doesn’t matter what you file in court. You’re not getting anything. If we’re not married, you’re sunk.

Scott Cardani 2:19
Yeah, that’s very true.

Jackie Critzer 2:20
But there’s…

Scott Cardani 2:21
If there’s no partition, you’re right. I was I’m actually being I was thinking of the other way, when you’re actually having the asset together. But you’re right, you’re on the deed, my contribution is going to be like – Oh, well.

Jackie Critzer 2:32
A gift. Appreciate your gift. Thank you for helping me build equity.

Scott Cardani 2:36
And what we’re trying to talk about here is like I see this all the time, people coming to me now, it’s been a regular thing. I think there’s a generation now that believes that marriage is stupid, and we shouldn’t do it. But we’re gonna live together. Right?

Jackie Critzer 2:48

Scott Cardani 2:48
And, and that’s okay. I, I don’t agree with it, I understand where it’s coming from. But what they don’t understand is, you’re gonna have the exact same problems that married people have when but the difference is there’s no judicial protection, there’s no judicial protection, no mechanism. So for instance, if Jackie and I are married, and I decide to leave, the judge is going to figure out, I get half the equity.

Jackie Critzer 3:11
But it doesn’t matter if he’s on the deed or not on the deed if we’re married.

Scott Cardani 3:14

Jackie Critzer 3:15
Okay, that that just doesn’t matter. It’s still an a marital asset. But in this scenario, we’re not married. And then the first scenario, I’m the only one on the deed and Scott leaves by how about he doesn’t leave? How about I say, it’s time for you to go?

Scott Cardani 3:28

I get that I have that option. Versus if Scott is a co owner on the home. And he says, All right, well, I want you to leave, or I’m gonna leave or he just decides we’re not going to share this house anymore. Well, there are ways that he can force the sale of the property, and we can’t evict one or the other because we’re both owners. So that’s, that’s out the door. But we could one of us could petition the court ask the court to force a sale so that we can divide whatever we need to right. So there’s some protections because we’re co owners, even if we’re not married, but in the first scenario, I own the house. I say, Scott, you gotta go. He goes, but he’s got a house full. Maybe he bought everything in the house. How’s it getting that back?

And you know, and again, there are some civil suits that you can file but it gets really messy. For instance, say, Jackie gave me $1,000 To buy the couch was $2,000. I put the $1,000 in my account with all my other money, maybe I have $50,000 in account, and I go by the couch, okay, who is that? $1,000 I can just say, Well, Jack, you gifted that to me for my birthday.

Jackie Critzer 4:37
You’re just gonna have a hard time dividing out that property. In fact, I got contacted by a girlfriend of mine from law school within the last couple of weeks. And she said her friend was going through this exact scenario, her friend and been living with this guy for years, like 10 or 20 years. I want to say they built this left get never married, and he decided he was done with the relationship. he’ll in the house. Right? Yeah, she had to leave. And apparently there were I mean, you can imagine there were relationship issues. And she had a house full of stuff. And he didn’t really say, No, you can’t have it. But he dragged his feet and drag his feet. And then, you know, they were asking me how to how does she get this back? And then while you can do a warrant in debt new, right, how do you do the now it’s just a whole judicial process of getting your property back. But in that process, you’ve got to be able to assert and prove to some degree of reliability, that what you’ve listed as your property is, in fact, your property. So now, fast forward, we’ve somehow maybe we have a joint account, maybe we both put the same amount of money into that account. And that’s how we bought the furniture. Well, now what Scott?

Scott Cardani 5:46
Yeah. Now, what is my point, this is the point we’re bringing up as this gets really messy, unless you plan ahead, you know, and you figure this out how you’re going to divide things, it’s like, when we entered our business, we we have a plan for dividing and if one of us doesn’t want to be partners, sure. So you have to think ahead, and that’s kind of what you’re thinking about here is you almost have to be smart enough to have a contractual relationship with the person you’re entering into, of how things are going to play out. Because without it…

Jackie Critzer 6:19
Property ownership becomes muddy. But the short of it is if if you are living in the house that somebody else owns, and you’ve been in this relationship for a long period of time, you’ve contributed to the bills and the mortgage and the maintenance and then my gosh, maybe you’ve even paid the property taxes.

Scott Cardani 6:20
What about a car?

Jackie Critzer 6:39
If you aren’t a co owner and you’re not married, you’re sunk.

Scott Cardani 6:43
I think it’s even worse if you are a co owner some respects because say you and I own it $100,000 car we go on buy it really nice brand new Tahoe, right?

Jackie Critzer 6:56
Hard to believe those are $100,000.

Scott Cardani 6:58
We’re both on the the title, we’re both on the title the lien the lien, okay? You say I want out, I want you to pay me half my car, I don’t know. 50 grand, right? Maybe my credit sucks. I can’t even refinance it my name, maybe I don’t want to refinance.

Jackie Critzer 7:17
So, now what do I do now? How do I how do I get my name off of that vehicle?

Scott Cardani 7:21
And then you’re fighting over who driving it? You know, like who’s driving it? Sorry, it was funny thing.

Jackie Critzer 7:25
Who be driving that car?

Scott Cardani 7:27
But my point is this, all of a sudden, Jackie comes and says, I need car keys. I’m taking the Tahoe to Tahoe for the weekend.

Jackie Critzer 7:37
Going skiing.

Scott Cardani 7:39
And I say Hell to the No, you’re not taking any car and putting that many miles on the car. She’s like, I’m a co owner, I can drive it. She steals the keys out of my room. In the middle of night.

Jackie Critzer 7:49
They’re my keys too.

And she drives to Tahoe. What what recourse? Do I have? Nothing?

None. co owner? What if you wreck it? Hope we have insurance.

Scott Cardani 8:02
Yeah, I mean, what if you were what if you wreck it and you do something that’s outside of the insurance like you were you run into the side of the building? And you know, they’re intentional towards not covering? Oh, I’m gonna say and all of a sudden you have $100,000 joint loan that your joint and severally liable on? It’s not like, it’s not? Oh, you own 50 and I own 50.

Jackie Critzer 8:24
You’re both 100% responsible.

Scott Cardani 8:26
It messes up your credit. It messes up your life. Say, man. Well, I can take Jackie’s even simpler example. We’ll just say we’re not shacking up, we’re just friends. But, you know, we bought a house together. Okay, and we’ve lived there. And it’s in both our names. Let’s put it that way. We both own the house.

Jackie Critzer 8:47
Okay, okay.

Scott Cardani 8:48
We’ve been there for 15 years, I decide I’m gonna get married.

Jackie Critzer 8:52

Scott Cardani 8:53
And I come to you and I say, hey, Jackie, I would love to have the house and my wife and I move in here. You say?

Jackie Critzer 8:57
That’s nice.

Scott Cardani 8:58
That’s nice. Now, Jackie, I know would just give me the house and she won’t even ask for the money she put into it, but most people would. So my point is, your future now is on hold.

Jackie Critzer 9:10

Scott Cardani 9:12
You can’t get usually people, most people can’t qualify for two or three houses.

Jackie Critzer 9:16
Most people can’t.

Scott Cardani 9:17
So you know, all of a sudden, you can’t get a new house. You’re in a situation with the old house. You can’t get out of it.

Jackie Critzer 9:25
I guess you and your wife could move into our house. Yeah. And I could stay there. That’d be neat.

Scott Cardani 9:30

Jackie Critzer 9:31
Well, so we’ve talked about the pitfalls, right and what is likely to happen and the bad way that this is going to shake out…

Scott Cardani 9:39
Hold On – I gotta say one more thing. Sorry. Remember, relationships that are aren’t married breakup just as much as relationships that are married. There’s no difference. So, But anyways, go ahead.

Jackie Critzer 9:49
So how do you avoid doing this? In other words, are there are there I mean, could you put a contract in place? Could you what could you do to help mitigate or lessen some of the fallout?

Scott Cardani 10:03
I think that’s probably the your best bet is to put some kind of agreement together. We’re agreeing that we’re going to live together, we’re going to buy certain, almost like a marriage covenant kind of deal in the sense of everything that we buy during our relationship together is CO owned.

Jackie Critzer 10:18

Scott Cardani 10:19
Regardless of whose name it’s in, and I think you’d have trouble with a judge even on that. So maybe on a property…

Jackie Critzer 10:25
Sounds like you’re kind of talking like a prenup, but no marriage to go with it. So this is basically a relationship contract,

Scott Cardani 10:33
A relationship contract.

Jackie Critzer 10:34
So why do we have to have for contract?

Scott Cardani 10:36

Jackie Critzer 10:37
An offer an acceptance with a consideration.

Scott Cardani 10:39
Consideration, yeah.

Jackie Critzer 10:40
What’s the consideration?

Scott Cardani 10:42
Yeah, what would be the consideration $10

Jackie Critzer 10:46
Love and affection?

Scott Cardani 10:47
Love and affection? I don’t know. I think that’s what we’re talking about, though. You’re gonna have to walk this through. You know, you can’t just can you just grab a contract off the internet and think that work?

Jackie Critzer 10:58
You can do anything you want.

Scott Cardani 11:00
Okay, so…

Jackie Critzer 11:01
Sure you could…

Scott Cardani 11:01
You didn’t hear any sarcasm in that at all.

Jackie Critzer 11:03
Is it wise to do that? Well, no, it’s also not wise for me to watch a YouTube video and go to my car and think that I can replace the alternator. It’s not that I can’t, of course I can. But I might cause more damage than if I had just taken it to a reputable mechanic. Right. So that makes sense. If you want something done from a legal perspective, it is always going to be better to go to a good attorney. Right? Sometimes some attorneys are no better than what you find on the internet. So be wise use wisdom when you’re interviewing an attorney. Use wisdom when you are doing your research and trying to figure out, you know, who handles this kind of thing you you don’t want to go to and I do bankruptcy. But let’s say I only did bankruptcy and I did nothing else. You don’t necessarily want to go to a bankruptcy attorney and ask them for some sort of prenuptial contractor or agreement that that needs to be worded in such a way that protects you, like a prenup would without it being a prenup, right? You need to do your research. Don’t go to you know, Johnny’s friend, because Johnny’s friend is an attorney and and does wills trusts and estates. Be wise about it?

Scott Cardani 12:08
Yeah. And folks, you got to protect yourself and you got to think through this. Is it the wisest decision to buy a car with somebody else that you’re not married to that you’re not in relationship with or whatever?

Jackie Critzer 12:20
Well, the Think about the true complication, and that is the cosign.

Scott Cardani 12:24

Jackie Critzer 12:25
Because that is the same thing. Yep. There is no difference in a cosign which perhaps is best save for a different podcast about financial responsibility and financial partnerships and how to dissolve those. But But co signing is, in fact, exactly the same thing is CO owning, you have to co own in order to cosign. So…

Scott Cardani 12:48
No, I agree. And that’s a problem. I just again, you know, we, you have to think through these decisions. We just, there’s a generation out there, and I’m not ripping on him. They just think that if they avoid marriage, they’re going to be okay.

Jackie Critzer 13:02

Scott Cardani 13:03
And they start these relationships without the understanding of these little simple things. And then all sudden, like you said, three years down the road, they’re like, this isn’t working for me, I went out.

Jackie Critzer 13:11
That’s right.

Scott Cardani 13:12
And they’re stuck. And I’ve had that so many times. I mean, sometimes the other person is great, you can keep the house. It’s great move on. But more times than not, you have two people tied up in legal knots because they didn’t free plan, and thought that this is going to be so much better than a covenant that is ordained. I just worry about it for young folks. Because we see it all the time. I can’t tell you how many times people come to us and like I own this car, or this other person. There’s nothing I can do. I own this house with this other person. There’s nothing I can do.

Jackie Critzer 13:45

Scott Cardani 13:46
He’s kicking me to the curb. And I’ve lived in that house 20 years, he’s have a right to kick me to the curb does he?

Jackie Critzer 13:51
He does if you’re not married, and then again, we have to backup to this. You know, if you’ve lived anywhere for a period of time, and I’m not talking six months, a year, two years, five years, 10 years, 15 years, you are acquiring stuff. We all do it. Maybe you’re really good at it, and you are packrat or maybe you’re really good at minimizing. Either way you you’re accumulating Christmas decorations, holiday decorations, maybe somebody passed away and left you they’re fine china. I don’t think fine china is given us wedding gifts anymore. But maybe it is, But you’ve accumulated this stuff and what happens to the stuff you can’t not only are you out of you don’t even have a rental history for that period of time you’re living there, you don’t have a payment history. And now you’ve got to go find a new place and furnish new place. It’s just there’s wisdom in in seeking some counsel prior to moving in with somebody and and taking that leap.

Scott Cardani 14:46
And what’s the old adage? Prior planning promotes positive performance. And that’s what we’re really trying to talk to and we’re not being silly, it sounds silly, but we just see such messes right now that are popping up everywhere. Because and I did see the trend about 10 years ago seemed like people really just kicked marriage to the curb and said, we’re just gonna live together, which is fine. And I mean, I’ll never forget. I was in Goochland, one time and a guy, one of the attorneys another situation, the husband owned everything. He was fairly wealthy. He had the house, the cars, everything was in his name, all the furniture, he bought that two kids and wife was basically stay at home mom, guess what she got in the end? A swift kick to the curb. Got nothing.

Jackie Critzer 14:55

Scott Cardani 14:55
Now she couldn’t prove that she bought one thing in that house? Because she didn’t. Now we all know in the context of marriage, she would have been protected. But the the attorney actually filed a divorce proceeding. Yeah, no, don’t laugh. But anyways, I’m thinking that’s not gonna fly.

Jackie Critzer 15:49
I mean, there’s no common law marriage in Virginia, number one. But in that scenario, she’s not even eligible for support, spousal support child sports always available. So I’m not talking like that, talking about spousal support, no eligibility for that if you’re not married, you’re done. You don’t have any eligibility for spousal support.

Scott Cardani 16:06
And that’s what we’re trying to say, Look seven years of your life with somebody and all sudden you have nothing.

Jackie Critzer 16:12

Scott Cardani 16:13
Nothing. And that’s a rude, rude, rude awakening. When that happens to the point that you know, and you feel victimized and traumatized, and you somewhat are. But your remedies are this big.

Jackie Critzer 16:26
They’re very, very small, be wise. So the whole point of this podcast, and it’s the whole point is that this if you’re going to move in instead of getting married, or if you’re going to move in and hope to one day get married, you should still consider the pre planning. Consider a contract, consider something that is formal and in writing and written by an attorney. Seek wise counsel from attorneys. Move yourself into a position where you will not be compromised if it doesn’t work out. 5, 10 15, five months down the road, whatever the case may be, seek counsel, and protect yourself in the event that the unwed relationship in fact does break up.

Yes, like and subscribe. We thank you for listening today.

See you guys next time. Thanks so much.

What To Do When… Outro 17:00
We hope you’ve enjoyed this episode of What To Do When… For more episodes, be sure to subscribe to our podcast and we encourage you to check archives to listen to previous topics. Tune in next week for a new episode and some fresh perspective from Critzer Cardani.

Need Legal Representation? Contact Critzer Cardani.

We look forward to helping you in this venture and Good Luck!