If my fiancé and I have lived together for 4 years and I want to leave the relationship, can Itake some of the furniture we bought?

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If my fiancé and I have lived together for 4 years and I want to leave the relationship, can Itake some of the furniture we bought?

I want to make sure he cannot press criminal charges.

Asked on October 1, 2011 under Family Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

This can get messy and complicated. If only one of you paid for it, the furniture belongs to that person. However, if both of you paid for the furniture, then determining ownership is not easy; nominally it belongs to whomever had their name on the receipt, order form, etc. However, even if it's in person A's name, if person B can show he or she contributed to paying for, under the expectation that it would belong to both of them, then B may have an interest in the furniture. However, establishing this is not easy in the absence of any written agreement setting out ownership rights.

The best thing to do is to work matters out with your fiance: negotiate who gets what, or who pays how much to get certain pieces he or she wants. If you can't negotiate and feel you're not getting what you deserve, it would take a lawsuit to determine ownership, at which you'd have to try to show your contribution, what the expectation was when it was purchased, etc.


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