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Lady Themis
Lady Themis, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 7751
Experience:  Divorce, child custody, child support, etc.
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Does a marriage engagement constitute a contract? My ex fiance

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Does a marriage engagement constitute a contract? My ex fiance and I bought a house together. He broke up with me and I would like him to move out of our house. I have made all of the mortgage payments, but he says it is his house too. Do I have any grounds to make him move out?
Thank you for your question.

When parties purchase property jointly, whether engaged or not, they both have an ownership interest in the property and rights to possession. The difficulty when the parties are not married is that the family courts have no jurisdiction over the division of that property. The civil court, however, does.
When parties wish to divided their interests in jointly owned property, they may file a partition action per their state's laws. In a partition action, the court essentially determines the parties' rights to the property, and typically orders the property sold and the proceeds divided equitably.
Alternately, if there is a contract between the parties, the court may be able to resolve the issue of a breach. An engagement can be considered a type of contract, but it must be clear to the court that it was the agreement of both parties that the property would be titled jointly in consideration of marriage. If that was the express agreement, it is possible that a court would consider the broken engagement a breach for which you are entitled to damages, including perhaps title and possession to the property.
This would be a difficult civil case to prevail on, and you most certainly should consult a local attorney if you are interested in pursuing something legally. Here is a link to local attorney directories.

I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if you have any follow-up questions.
Lady Themis and other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Why would it be a difficult case?

First, in many states, there is a statute of frauds which requires agreements regarding interests in real property to be in writing. I don't know whether that is the case in North Carolina. If not, there is still the burden of proving any oral agreement regarding the engagement and the purchase of the property, which your fiance may deny.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Could you explain what a mediator would do if we tried that?

A mediator helps you to resolve your dispute without litigating. The mediator is a neutral party who can help you come to an amicable resolution. Both parties would have to agree to mediate.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Is a mediation legally binding, or can a party refuse to comply if they don't like the results?

The parties can agree before the mediation whether or not the mediation would be binding.

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