If I was divorced 11 years ago and paid my ex $30,000 for equity in our house but he moved back in with me several years later, if he leaves again what are my legal rights concerning the house?

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If I was divorced 11 years ago and paid my ex $30,000 for equity in our house but he moved back in with me several years later, if he leaves again what are my legal rights concerning the house?

We have been living as husband and wife. Will I have to pay him again?

Asked on August 20, 2015 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The house was awarded to you-- so the house is still your's.  Just because he moved back in, the co-habitation didn't automatically give him property rights back to the house that was awarded to you.  He just needs to leave and take his personal belongings with you. 
To protect yourself from another divorce action, make sure that you make it clear that ya'll are just co-habitating, not married.  Texas does recognize common law (or informal marriages).  Informal marriages require more than cohabitation-- it also requires a holding out and an agreement to be married.  Basically, you agree to be married and you tell other people that you are married.  So... don't file taxes together, don't add his name back onto the title, and don't tell people that ya'll are married. 
If you do engage in a common law marriage, the house will still be yours, but he could make a potential claim for reimbursement.  This claim would be for a repayment of any community funds used to improve your house.
So... don't mingle accounts, don't confuse issues.... just keep it clear ya'll are living together, not married and your rights to the house awarded to you will remain your's a 100%.


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