Does my boyfriend of 13 years have the right to half of my house? I bought it 12 years ago and it never helped me with the bills.

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Dear Quentin, My boyfriend and I have separated after 13 years of dating. Twelve years ago I bought a house. We have never shared finances and none of your money was used to buy the house. He never helped me with my bills or mortgage payments, and I never asked him. Now he claims he is entitled to half the value of the house when I bought it 12 years ago.

Am I right that you are not entitled to anything? The Ex You can email The Moneyist with any financial and ethical questions related to coronavirus at, and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter. Dear ex, Living with you without paying rent is not a legal beneficiary. Some states recognize common law marriage, but it is difficult for your ex boyfriend to prove and enforce. For example, you would have had to present yourself as married to friends, family and / or clubs or employers, etc. The main of these prerequisites is consent: generally, both parties must give their consent for a de facto marriage. I got a very similar question last year from the other side of the equation, a man wondering if he was entitled to millions of dollars of his boyfriend’s earnings while they were together. You can read my answer here. As I explained, common-law marriage is derived from old law and exists in a handful of US states as an elective option. “The phrase ‘common law’ originates from England and refers to non-ceremonial marriages that were valid under English law. In the case of 1877 Meister v. Moore, the United States Supreme Court held that a non-ceremonial marriage was a valid and enforceable marriage, unless a state statute prohibited it, ”according to The Harris Law Firm in Colorado. “Colorado statutes have not invalidated common law marriages and consequently they continue to this day. In addition to Colorado, only nine other states and Washington, DC, continue to allow the establishment of a common law marriage. Those nine states are Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah. “Want a reward after 13 years? No luck. Hi MarketWatchers. Check out Moneyist’s private group on Facebook US: FB, where we search for answers to life’s thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all kinds of dilemmas. Post your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or comment on the latest Moneyist columns. Submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you understand and agree that we may use your story, or versions of it, on all media and platforms, including third parties.