Saw on HGTV the other day (Home and Garden TV) a couple that said something along the lines of:
“We are not ready to get married, so we’re going to buy a house instead.
Baby steps, right?”
EAGGGHHHH!!!!!, is what I screamed at the TV.
LOOK, I AM NOT A FAN OF MARRIAGE EITHER!
I get why they don’t want to get married. I don’t either.
Frankly, I don’t really see the benefits of marriage when being common-law partners in Ontario pretty much gives us all the rights of married folk, except I can’t claim his assets and he can’t claim mine either in the event of a separation (no problem for me or my partner).
I just see that we’ll be $20,000 – $30,000 poorer for a piece of paper.
We BOTH do not want to get married because we BOTH don’t see the point it and we BOTH understand the consequences and risks of what we are doing by staying common-law partners instead.
Even if we did sign a piece of paper and get married, I’d want a prenuptial agreement so it’d be the same thing in the end for us.
For me personally, having a baby is technically a stronger commitment to each other only because it’s for life.
If you divorce without kids, there’s really just the divorce settlement and splitting of assets to contend with, but then you’re pretty much free and clear of each other.
With a child, you still have to try and raise the child together even if you no longer want to be together.
I don’t expect everyone to agree with me, but this is my stance.
…BUT … SERIOUSLY? BUYING A HOUSE IS EQUALLY AS INTENSE AS GETTING MARRIED!
Buying a house is a financial commitment to each other. You have both of your names on the deed. You both live together in that house. You have both put in money into the house (maintenance, furniture, etc).
If you separate, this is just as nasty as a divorce.
- Who gets that end table you both love?
- Who paid more to the mortgage than the other?
- Are there records of this?
- Who put down the bulk of the down payment?
- Was it truly equal?
These are all questions that arise when you buy a house together and then split.
In my mind, it is the same as committing to a marriage, just without that technicality of a divorce.
CASE IN POINT: A GUY WE KNOW WHO GOT A HOUSE BUT REFUSED TO MARRY HER
This is not an unusual case, but it is of a guy we know who did NOT want to get married to his common-law girlfriend.
See, she was kind of pressuring him to get married which made him uncomfortable and a bit suspicious because in Quebec, if you are not married, the rules are pretty clear that you can’t snatch half of each other’s assets, which I think was what she was aiming for.
So he bought a house with her instead of getting married.
He paid the down payment, the mortgage, all the bills, and did all the maintenance on the house.
She only paid for the phone bill, citing that she was a freelancer and she didn’t have a steady job like he did so she couldn’t really pay all of those bills…. yet.
10 years and 2 children later………
She hosed him anyway because they bought a house together, but he put down the down payment AND he paid the mortgage with it in his name, but put her name on the deed with him.
Essentially, she owned half the property, but without half of the liability (the mortgage).
She then told him she wanted to sell her half of the house, and he stupidly agreed to buy it from her, and took on a line of credit to pay her what she owned in the house if they would have sold it.. that.. he.. pretty much.. paid.. 100%… for.
All without getting married.
She just told him: The house is worth _______. I want half.
He didn’t even have the mortgage cleared but didn’t want to sell the house, so he basically took out a line of credit to pay her in advance or anticipation of clearing the mortgage on the house.
(I fell over when I heard that.)
Oh, and she nailed him down for child support on top of all that money he had to give her, at $1000 a month.
(Ooo she was a sly one.)
Another couple we know in Quebec, also had a similar dilemma but he was a bit smarter about the situation. The girlfriend was living with him and she figured: “Hey if I am paying rent to his mortgage, shouldn’t my name also be on the deed?”
Made sense to her.
She tried to pull the same trick on him, but he said: “Fine I’ll put you on the deed once you cough up the 50% of the equity of the home that is already currently paid, plus you sign that you are liable for the other half of the loan.”
She realized she didn’t have the money but also didn’t want the liability, and backed down.
They’re still together.
LIFE EVENTS ARE ALL THE SAME – DO NOT GO AHEAD IF YOU CANNOT COMMIT TO EACH OTHER
Whether you buy a house, get married, have a baby… it doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Sure, some things require more of a lifelong commitment (e.g. having a baby), than buying a house or getting married (it is messy but you can at least get out of it somewhat intact and never see each other again), but it IS ALL a big grand commitment to each other.
If you cannot imagine marrying the other person, then do not buy a house or have a baby with them.