Technically, you can add whoever you want on the deed to your house, however, it may spell trouble when the relationship ends. When you add a non-spouse to the deed of your home, it almost always guarantees litigation if the relationship ends. Many people want to add their girlfriend, boyfriend, or fiancé to the deed of their house as a show of affection and commitment. This is not a good idea. Although you may have the best intentions at the time, if the relationship ends, you could jointly own property with someone who you no longer wish to associate with. Once someone is on the deed to your property, they have an ownership interest in it and getting their name off the deed is no easy task.
Unlike in marriage, which has the divorce process to remove a spouse’s name from the property once the relationship ends, there isn’t an easy mechanism to do that with other relationships outside of marriage. The ways to remove someone other than a spouse, are costly and time consuming. Examples of the costly ways to remove your girlfriend, boyfriend, or fiancé is through a partition or through a final accounting of a partnership. Both options can result in expensive attorney fees and prevent you from doing anything with the property until the court decides how the property should be divided. This can be troublesome if you can no longer afford the home or want to sell the home and move. When you add someone to the deed to your home, they have as much ownership as you do, even if they have not contributed to the property financially. It is unwise to give someone the benefits of owning a home without having any financial responsibility for it. For example, even though you may have put all your money into the property, until you go to court and prove the equity you have in the home, you cannot force the other person to leave or remove their name from the deed. The default rule is that proceeds and losses are split equally between the owners of the home, unless the court finds one owner had more equity in the home than the other owner. This may not be the result you wanted or intended when you put his or her name on the deed to your house. It is important to seek legal advice before adding someone on the deed to your property, so you fully understand any risks involved.