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John Legal
John Legal, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Over 15 years legal experience.
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i have been making payments on my house, {that is in my name},

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i have been making payments on my house, {that is in my name}, for 17 years. My live in girlfriend is threating to take my house and assets because she is upset with me and wants to move out. I am disabled, she slaps me around and pushed me off a porch 2 weeks ago. I just want to know if i am going lose my house and some assets because she wants revenge?
Welcome! Thank you for your question.

You say this is your girlfriend. Have you been representing to others that she is your wife?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

no, i have not, but she has actually changed her name on her drivers liscense to my last name, which she has not done legally as she is reconized with social security or birth certificate. Ther is no documentation of marriage cause i never wanted to get married.


The only way that she will be entitled to a portion of your property is if you are recognized as common law married. There is common law marriage in Montana. There is not a clear bright line to determine if you are common law married. There are three elements to common law marriage:

First, the parties must be competent to enter into a marriage. This means that both parties are unmarried, over age 18 and mentally competent.

Second, the parties entered into the marital arrangement by mutual consent and agreement. This essentially means that both parties agreed to the relationship. This element is one where she would have to prove that at some point you agreed to be married to her.

And finally third, the parties confirmed their marriage by cohabitation and public repute. In the Matter of the Estate of Ober. 62 P2d 1114, 314 Mont. 20, 2003 MT 7 (2003).

The court cases in Montana have been generally concerned with the final part of the third test, cohabitation and public repute. As stated before, there is no bright line. Cohabitation, living together, is one issue that the Court will look at, but it alone is not the determinative factor. Keeping different last names is not proof positive one way or the other. Maintaining separate financial accounts or having joint accounts may not matter. A common law marriage will not be found where it was kept secret from the community. The parties must present themselves as husband and wife openly. The court looks at all the facts which are presented and at the various competing public policies of the State of Montana.


Two competent individuals could live together their whole adult lives and never form a common law marriage - if they never said to the community at large that they were husband and wife, never acted as if they were a “married couple” rather than a pair, and never said to each other “we are married”.


If you are not common law married then she is not legally entitled to any assets, including the home, that you acquired with your income.



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