How is property divided when a common-law relationship ends? Our house has both our names on the deed. If one person paid all of the down payment, how should the house value be split?

When it comes to dividing property and debts, couples who've lived together in a marriage-like relationship (you might call it being in a common-law relationship for two years are treated like married couples.

This means you equally share all the property you got during your relationship. If you buy a house while you live together, the house is considered family property, no matter whose name is registered on the title.

If you break up, you divide the property equally unless either of you paid some of the down payment or mortgage from money you had before you got together, or from an inheritance or gift to one person. That money will often be considered excluded property. You get your excluded property back and divide what's left equally.

If either of you bought property before you moved in together, you share the increase in value of the property since you started living together. (So, if the property increased in value by $100,000 during the time you lived together, you'd get $50,000 each.)

But if this would result in significant unfairness, a judge can order the increase to be divided in a different way.

To find out more about dividing property after you separate, see:

See Who to call and Where to go for information about different people and places that can help.