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Unmarried Home Buying in Ohio: Legal Guide & Tips for Couples


Unmarried Home Buying in Ohio: Legal Guide & Tips for Couples

Josh Dawson

My goal is simple: to help you make better real estate decisions...

My goal is simple: to help you make better real estate decisions...

Dec 29 3 minutes read

Purchasing a home with someone to whom you are not married can be an exciting step, but it also comes with a unique set of legal considerations, especially in a state like Ohio. This blog post will explore the potential downfalls of such a decision and offer guidance on how to navigate these challenges.

1. Understanding Property Ownership

In Ohio, unmarried couples can own property either as 'joint tenants' or 'tenants in common'. Joint tenancy includes the right of survivorship, meaning if one owner dies, the other automatically receives their share. In contrast, with tenancy in common, each owner can leave their share to someone else in their will. The choice between these two can have significant implications in the event of a breakup or one partner's death.

2. No Legal Protection for Relationship Breakdown

Unlike married couples, unmarried couples do not have the same legal protections in the event of a breakup. This means there's no automatic process for property division or support. Therefore, it's crucial to have a written agreement that outlines what will happen to the property if the relationship ends.

3. Mortgage Complications

Applying for a mortgage together can be complicated. Both parties’ credit scores will be considered, and both will be equally liable for the mortgage payments. If one person stops contributing, the other could be left with the entire burden, potentially affecting their credit score.

4. Estate Planning Considerations

Without proper estate planning, the surviving partner could face difficulties if one partner passes away. Ohio law does not automatically recognize an unmarried partner as a beneficiary. It's important to have wills and possibly even a trust in place to protect each other's interests.

5. Tax Planning Implications

Unmarried couples don't benefit from the same tax advantages as married couples. For example, if one partner owns the home and the other contributes to the mortgage, the non-owner cannot claim the mortgage interest deduction on their taxes. Also, when a portion of the property is deeded to someone other than a spouse the conveyance may be subject to gift or estate tax.

6. Exit Strategy

It's essential to have an exit strategy. This could include a buyout clause, a plan for selling the home, or an agreement on how to divide any profits or losses.

7. Creditors Claim

A creditor may be able to attach a lien on your co-owner's interest in the property. 


Buying a home with someone you're not married to in Ohio requires careful planning and consideration of the legal and financial implications. It's wise to consult with legal, mortgage, and tax professionals to ensure that both parties' interests are protected. Remember, taking the time to plan now can save a lot of stress and heartache in the future.

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My goal is simple, to help you make better real estate decisions.

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