“Should We Sign a Contract Before Moving In Together?”

I’ve been going out with my boyfriend for 6.5 years now. We’ve hit a couple road blocks, but we’ve gotten through everything and have a very strong relationship. Neither of us is keen on marriage in general, especially since we’re still pretty young, but we’ve been making other big steps lately, like moving in together, and we’ve talked about having a long-term future together.

His parents are exceptionally well-off and are buying him a condo that we’re both going to live in. We’ve gone over this many times and we’re going to set up a system where I pay him equity into the condo, making me a part owner. Our condo search was quicker than expected and we’re in the process of getting the contract finalized. At the beginning of the search, we also agreed to have a contract about our situation, stipulating things like my right to live in the place in case of something bad happening (break up, death) and what happens if we get married. We both agree to the terms, but I want a lawyer friend to look it over and make sure we’ve crossed our T’s and there aren’t gaping holes or conditions that wouldn’t stand up in court. I’m not a lawyer but my boyfriend is and doesn’t want anyone else to get in the middle of our business.

The main reason we’re doing this is so that we can bypass marriage at the moment but he’s worried that I don’t trust him and that’s why I’m doing this. I do trust him, but I don’t trust an angry ex-boyfriend or a dead boyfriend’s parents. In those horrible situations, the last thing I’d want to do is fight about money or get kicked out. I realize this isn’t the most romantic situation, but I only agreed to buying a condo with this contract and it seems like he keeps trying to postpone it. We have a few weeks to back out without paying any money, so I want to know – am I being crazy by wanting a lawyer to look at this? Is there a way I can do that and still show him I trust him? Is this too complicated and should we wait until we’re married to buy a condo? However, that might be a long, long time from now and we live in a city that has extraordinarily high rent. — Partner in Acrimony

For the love of God, have a lawyer look at the contract! If your boyfriend is afraid a legal, binding contract means you don’t trust him, then remind your lawyer boyfriend that a marriage is a legal, binding contract, too. And if you sign a contract to protect yourself now, don’t balk if you two decide to get married and he wants you to sign a pre-nup to protect his family’s wealth.

I live in Michigan and my daughter, “Courtney,” will be getting married in Boston, where she lives. My cousin, “Brenda,” and her daughter live in Michigan, too, and both know my daughter socially. We sent invitations to them and realized we did not invite Brenda’s other child, “Dan.” I called to get his address and Brenda said Courtney does not even know him. Brenda gave me the address but now I think she thinks we should not have bothered him. I said we thought we should invite everyone in the family and that Dan might feel slighted. (Worse yet, I wonder if she thinks he will be committed to a gift even if he does not go). Brenda also complained that the wedding will be in Boston and not in Michigan. I told her it’s because that’s where they live and hiring all the vendors was much easier. What should I do? — Mother of the Bride

You don’t need to invite Dan, although now that you’ve already asked for his address, he may have been tipped off and could be expecting an invitation, which really would be a slight if he doesn’t receive one. At this point, tell Brenda you don’t want him to feel obligated to come or give a gift considering he doesn’t even know your daughter and ask her whether he would feel offended if you extended an invitation to his mother and sister but not to him. As for her griping about having the wedding being where the bride and groom actually live, that’s just ridiculous.

After declaring me too boisterous/free-spirited for us to work in a long-term romantic relationship, my ex finally called it quits. however, we still at least text every day and he’s still extremely affectionate. After about two weeks of being broken up, I asked him to label our relationship (i.e. “friends,” “friends +,” etc.), to which he replied, “Only people with bad communication need to use labels — our communication is great.”

Clearly, I disagree with him. I would like a label so I know the limits and boundaries I don’t particularly want to share him with another woman, but I don’t just want to be his booty-call either. Should I switch my tactic from asking for a label to asking for boundaries? Or should I withdraw completely and just act like we’re merely acquaintances? — Newly Broken

You’re broken up, so the label you’re looking for is “exes” and the boundary you’re seeking is “stay away!” No good can come from fraternizing with a guy whom you don’t want to share with other woman and who no longer wants to be your boyfriend. MOA.

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If you have a relationship/dating question I can help answer, you can send me your letters at wendy(AT)dearwendy.com.


  1. ReginaRey says:

    LW#3 – Wake up, girl. Your boyfriend said you were “too boisterous/free-spirited” for you guys to work out a long-term relationship? Here’s a newsflash: Your boyfriend is an asshat who wanted to break up, period, so gave you the first excuse he could think of. He’s continuing to text you because he misses the comfort and attention that having a girlfriend provides, but can now avoid having a monogamous relationship with you. This is his idea of the perfect FWB situation.

    The only “tactic” you should be employing right now is acquiring some lady balls, mustering as much self-respect as you can, and completely leave this dude in the dust. If some guy breaks up with you because you’re “too boisterous/free spirited,” then you take your boisterous, free-spirited self and find a dude who enjoys that about you.

    Please, don’t do yourself the disservice of clinging to a douchebag who doesn’t want to be your boyfriend anymore. Being single is WAY better than being with a dude who actually says things like “Only people with bad communication need to use labels.”

    1. ReginaRey says:

      PS – Wendy, I guess you and Drew are terrible communicators, because you dare to use “labels” like “husband” and “wife.” Same goes for all you people with boyfriends/girlfriends out there. I suppose you’re all just really crappy communicators hiding behind your labels.

      Give me a break.

    2. “Boisterous / free-spirited” break up excuse + using fresh ex for sex after accusing her of being a boisterous free spirit + avoiding label conversation with second douche bag comment of “Only people with bad communication need labels” line = Bag of Ass Hats

      I’d be embarrassed for being that terrible at manipulation if I was him.

      1. ReginaRey says:

        I’d be more embarrassed to have actually been persuaded by that kind of bumbling manipulation, honestly. We’ve all been there, though (at least I have…), so I’ll forgive her for buying it as long as she walks away after reading all of this.

      2. painted_lady says:

        Yup. Guilty. I think it’s another situation where the LW is “in the monkey house.” I’ve later looked back on exes who manipulated me like that and gone “Aw, how could I have been *that* stupid?!”

      3. iseeshiny says:

        OMG I love Tim Gunn! Whew, sorry. That’s all.

      4. painted_lady says:

        Me too! I can’t remember who referred to him as “Glinda the Good Witch” but it stuck in my head. His book is wonderful, too!

      5. I use the monkey house situation all the time!!! love love love

      6. kerrycontrary says:

        I’ve been there too…but now whenever you see someone “there” you just want to say “if a guy wanted to be with you he wouldn’t have broken up with you!!!”

    3. John Rohan says:

      Wow! Only the very first response and Regina is already calling this guy an “asshat” and a “douchebag” for doing nothing other than breaking up with his girlfriend because he felt they were incompatible (what a crime!!). But no male bashing to see here folks, no sir…

      I agree that the LW shouldn’t consider themselves boyfriend/girlfriend, and if she’s heading toward being a FWB and doesn’t want to be end up there, she should move on (but if she’s cool with that, then enjoy it – this is 2012 after all).

      And to Wendy – just what is so horrible about them remaining friends? Most exes fight like dogs. If they can still be good friends, then more power to them. She just shouldn’t expect more than that, and continue looking for another relationship.

      1. iseeshiny says:

        How could anyone ever call you abrasive?

      2. John Rohan says:

        Was that directed to me? Because last I checked, I wasn’t the one using terms like “asshat” and “douchebag” (or abrasive).

      3. iseeshiny says:

        Why, yes, it was directed at you. Because I seem to recall you asking for examples.

        And no, you’re not calling anyone an asshat. Or a douchebag. Just implying that RR’s a man basher. Which also implies that her opinion is based solely on the genders of the people involved. Which, if you’ll recall, upsets us poor little ladies. So, yeah, abrasive. And you know it.

      4. John Rohan says:

        1. I didn’t imply that she was a man-basher, I said it. Regina is awfully quick on that trigger finger to fire off obscenities and invectives toward men, often unjustifiably. And that’s not just my opinion. In just the short time I have been reading this site, I have seen at least two times where the LWs themselves sent an update to tell certain man-bashing commenters that they were way off base, after Regina already let loose a torrent of hatred.

        2. I never said her opinion was due to her gender, and frankly I don’t care what causes it.

      5. iseeshiny says:

        Nope, not abrasive at all. My mistake.

      6. John Rohan says:

        So because I pointed out someone else’s “abrasiveness”, I’m the one whose “abrasive” here? I’m having a hard time following that. But as long as you understand it, then I guess it’s all good.

      7. I 100% agree with you, John. The boyfriend did NOTHING wrong by dumping LW.

      8. you know, john, i think that if anyone on here thinks that the boyfriend is an asshat for breaking up with a girl for being “freespirited” and then continuing to text her andd be affectionate, they absolutely have that right. thats the whole point of having an opinion.

        also, the boyfriend is an asshat for doing that.

        also, you cant be friends directly after a breakup. that never works 99% of the time, and i doubt that were looking at a 1% situation here.

      9. iseeshiny says:

        Don’t be so hard on John, katie – he’s just defending the dignity of every man who has a letter written about him.

        I’m pretty sure they’ll be so grateful they’ll, like, give him a medal. And they’ll all carry him around on their shoulders, cheering his name, “John, John John!” And one of them, maybe even the one mentioned in this letter, will come up to him, tears of respect streaming down his face, and be like, “Man, when ReginaRey called me an asshat, man, that was so hurtful! I’m so glad you told me that it’s only because I’m a man that she thinks that, and not because I was being a sleaze by keeping my ex on the hook while simultaneously trying to bang other women by feeding her some bullshit line about how labels are only for people with poor communication skills!” And John will be all, like “It’s cool, bra,” and they’ll do a secret handshake with a high five and wiggling their fingers. And they’ll all be BFL (Bros For Life) together.

        Don’t trample on his dreams, katie. It’s just cruel.

      10. John Rohan says:

        Childish sarcasm is a poor substitute for an argument.

      11. iseeshiny says:

        So is deliberate obtuseness as to the difference between being rude to a person on the thread vs. derisive towards a person whose behavior we are discussing which may or may not be characterized as “douchebaggey.”

      12. John Rohan says:

        Ah.. so now we get to the real problem! I dared to criticize one of your buddies here, while anonymous strangers are fair game to say whatever you want? Well, here’s a news flash. Not everyone agrees with Regina. Or you. I gave my opinion. I disagreed with you both. That’s all. Get over it.

        LOL, I don’t see any rudeness in my statement, in fact, by the standards of this forum, even compared to your responses here, I think it was extremely tame.

        I need to go now. Have a good night!

      13. iseeshiny says:

        Listen, John, I get that you think it’s just terrible to call a man an asshat.

        But the whole “abrasive” thing came up when people were calling you a troll, and I said, no, I don’t think he’s a troll, I just think he’s always abrasive. Remember that? And you asked me to dig up some examples, and I didn’t feel like doing a research project for such a stupid reason? Remember that?

        Just now I pointed out an example you asked for. You could have said, “Regina, I disagree. I think his behavior is perfectly justified. I don’t think it’s fair to call him an asshat. Or a douchebag.” Plenty of people on here are able to have disagreements that are still rational and that don’t devolve into name-calling. (Heck, I had one with ForeverYoung just yesterday!) But instead you made it personal and said she’s a man-basher. If you can’t see the difference, or how calling someone a man-basher is just as much the use of invective as asshat, I don’t know how I can help you understand. Maybe you are just a clever troll?

        Anyway, you have a good night, too. I’m stuck here at work for another twenty minutes.

      14. John Rohan says:

        For the last freaking time, I DIDN’T RESORT TO “NAME CALLING”. Look for yourself again. And Read:

        Stop lying about me. If you had any class at all you would apologize.


      15. John Rohan says:

        Just to make it clear. Please quote an actual “name” I called anyone here. Just one. Can you do that? Just one?? Or apologize.

        Hint: accusing someone of “man bashing” on this forum IS NEITHER A NAME NOR IS IT REMOTELY A PERSONAL ATTACK. It is a direct criticism of something they said on these comment forums, so it’s completely fair game.

        Honestly, I am fed up with this type of discussion. Disagree with me, fine. Resort to name calling, excessive sarcasm, personal attacks, not fine. Just because I’m new here doesn’t give you the right to bully me or anyone else.

      16. Challenge accepted.

        I feel like calling someone a “man-hater” is name-calling, by definition, just like you did in the “Your Turn” column a couple days ago in which the pregnant woman’s bf was deployed:

        “For the man-haters today (like Regina Ray), I think you are waaaay off base. There are no “red flags” here other than the LW’s insecurities.”

        Really not cool. Enough of constantly throwing around the gender card on everyone here, especially RR; she’s super fair and thoughtful and never hates on anyone just for having a penis.

      17. iseeshiny says:

        So you admit that you’re abrasive? I’ll admit I have no class if you admit you’re abrasive! And for the record “abrasive” is a direct criticism of something you said on these comment forums, so it’s completely fair game.

        Also, you did say that you called RR a man basher:

        But you are right, I do resort to excessive sarcasm. I’m sorry about that. I probably shouldn’t have said that you have fantasies about being presented with a medal by hordes of grateful men who will probably have no idea of your existence. I’m sure that’s not at all true. I sincerely apologize that I hurt your feelings, and I’ll make an effort not to be sarcastic in any future comments directed toward you.

        Additionally, I’m very sorry if you feel I’ve bullied you. Please don’t make the mistake of thinking that it’s because you’re new. It’s just that I delight in the absurd, and the whole situation here, with you refusing to believe that you phrase your comments in an inflammatory fashion while simultaneously feeling wounded when I point it out (okay, yes, this time I’m being pretty abrasive myself) is just… well, absurd.

        I’d like to point out one more time, though, that my original comments on the gender thread (here: were far less sarcastic, incredibly sincere, and as far as I can tell you’re still making no effort to phrase any of your thoughts diplomatically. Which is your perogative. But please don’t be surprised when someone takes issue with it. And please don’t think I’m trying to speak for the whole community here. These are just the thoughts of one person on the internet. Don’t let it ruin your day – or make you resort to all caps.

        @FY – I know who you are, and I knew who you were yesterday, too. You’re one of the commenters I’ve followed with interest since I started reading DW and I always appreciate hearing your opinions. I would like to say I totally agree – I wasn’t joking when I said sarcasm and thinking I’m funny are vices of mine and that I might have been a little harsh up there. I’d just like to point out that when we got into it yesterday it was because I thought your reaction to Renee’s comment was over the top so, please don’t hate me for saying this, but glass houses, etc, etc. I fully enjoyed myself in our back and forth, and I forget sometimes that not everyone likes arguing and debating as much as I do, or appreciates me copying and pasting their words back at them to point out inconsistencies. I hope John hears what you said above about “not what you say but how you say it” because I know he didn’t hear me when I said the exact same thing.

      18. iseeshiny says:

        Holy crap I wrote a book. Sorry bout that.

      19. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Yeah I kind of had to walk away yesterday for a while after deciding that sometimes you’re never going to get your point across the way you want without being rude. That and I neede to get stuff done, haha. Im certainly not saying I’m perfect, I just want everyone to get along like kumbuya (sp?) style. Ugh. Hopefully John can understand where we’re coming from and everyone can share their opinion and not feel ganged up on.

      20. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Woah kids. Okay hopefully I’m not biting off more than I can chew here but….
        @isee – I am or was ForeverYoung. I am having an identity crisis (actually some logging in issues – but identity crisis sounds cooler). Anyway I think the long paragraph mimicking John was a little over the top and a pretty rude way to make your argument. It’s not effective (IMO) to combat aggressive language with aggressive language. I’m not trying to be insulting I just know I personally don’t respond well to that and I can see how John would take it personally. Mimicking/exaggeratin his point of view is pretty insulting and personal…as opposed to just explaining why you disagree.

        John- I think you constantly think your opinion isnt appreciated, and it is. I didn’t comment on it but I kind of agreed with you today – I think the guy was making himself pretty clear – or at least hardly covering up his manipulation tool to that point that she was being naive and not taking control of the situation. But! I think sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it. You will get through to people much better if you calmly explain your position – like today you could have disagreed that the guy was a jerk and explained from the male perspective – all without bringing RR into it. Ya know?

        I don’t know maybe I’m not helpin – I just think there is room for all sorts of opinions here – and no one wants to be ridiculed.

      21. Something More says:

        Yes. I agree with you and John on this one.

      22. Something More says:

        John – Yeah, Ive noticed the whole “buddy” thing as well. Anyway, I completely agree with you.

      23. Iwannatalktosampson says:

        I don’t even really agree with John and I think that was a little harsh. Lets all get along here people.

      24. iseeshiny says:

        Think I owe him an apology? I mostly thought I was being funny. It’s a vice of mine.

      25. John Rohan says:

        But I really don’t understand this line of thinking. He broke up with her because he felt they were incompatible for whatever reason (I seriously doubt that he only said it was because she was too boisterous/free-spirited, but I’ll go with that for now). But after breaking up, and taking the seriousness out of the relationship, they clicked and became good friends. I just don’t see what is so evil or sinister about that.

      26. it seems to be implied from the letter at least that he is affectionate. which maybe means they are ex’s who are now dabbling in post break up sex. she’s asking to have it be defined and he’s saying we don’t need to define it. it’s obvious that they’re both not on the same page with the situation. if she was, she wouldn’t be asking for it to be defined by him. most ex’s cannot be friends right after a break up for that very reason. the lines are still too blurry with emotions/sex/etc to keep that up. it’s better to give yourself some time to get over the romantic side of things.

      27. iseeshiny says:

        It sounded like they were still dabbling to me – she did mention “friends+” as one of the potential labels.

      28. i agree, which can be dangerous too soon post break up. it’s better to give everyone some space. or else you run the risk of one person developing stronger feelings again and getting hurt worse.

        and this is amber, i always forget to sign in and then it posts my comments as amber and not jlyfsh!

      29. iseeshiny says:

        I didn’t know jlyfsh and amber were the same person! I love your avatar (although I am terrified of jellyfish in person. Like, squeal like a little kid and get out of the water. One summer when I was a kid I got stung by a piece of a man o war (it had gotten dismembered somehow, probably by a boat) and I had hives for days. It was awful.)

      30. oh man they are the worst! i don’t particularly like that part of jellyfish either, but otherwise they are pretty awesome. my avatar is of a pacific sea nettle, they always look so awesome in aquariums! 🙂

      31. i absolutely dont fault him for breaking up with her. he may have just given her a line instead of saying what was on his mind, but whatever.

        i think hes an asshat for continuing to string her along. you shouldnt be “affectionate” with ex’s. thats why their ex’s.

      32. John Rohan says:

        But he hasn’t been stringing her along. Possibly that’s one difference between a man’s perspective and a woman’s. The way I see it, he’s made it very clear. He doesn’t want a serious relationship with her, and he wants to be open to seeing other people. But he’s also happy with remaining close friends with her and possibly FWB. That’s pretty clear to me.

        Whether she also wants to continue that kind of friendship is up to her.

      33. I dont buy that in this situation. The lw is clearly asking home what the “rules ” of their new relationship is, and he is avoiding the question to keep her in limbo.

        I think it’s possible that these situations happen with the guy having no ill intentions, but like I said above, I doubt were dealing with a 1% situation here. Most guys know exactly what to do and say to keep a girl strung along.

      34. i agree Katie and I think this is another example of why it Dan be dangerous for some people to remain friends with exes. If she was fine with their relationship she wouldn’t be asking to have it defined. And him not being willing to say I just want to be fwb or friends seems to just be confusing her. Which is why it’s better to walk away.

      35. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        I’m late to the party and am DW’ing on a teeny tiny blackberry that makes it hard to read all the comments – so forgive me if I’m stating what others have said, but: let’s break this down: the BF broke up with the LW and now wants, so it seems, a no-strings-attached, friends-with-benefits type of situation, which the LW can accept or reject… This is the basic set up that John thinks doesn’t deserve the “asshat” label (and I agree, John), but this is not what ReginaRey is bashing. It’s the added manipulation and bullshit that the asshat BF is throwing in the pot. There, that’s my 2 cents (eh, not even – maybe a penny) on that.

      36. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Though, even without the manipulation and bullshit, I do kind of still think the BF is an asshat here because he is being insensitive. He just broke up with the girl and now wants to just use her for sex. I don’t have a problem with FWB situations, but to break someone’s heart and then turn around and try to work out a FWB situation is… A little (slash, a lot) selfish, disrespectful, and cruel (ie, an asshat move).

      37. ReginaRey says:

        It seems I’m late to my own bashfest, but I’ll just sum this up by saying – this is exactly what I was saying. John Rohan doesn’t seem to understand subtlety. Breaking up with someone doesn’t make you a douchebag. Breaking up with someone, then trying to manipulate them into a FWB situation when it’s clear she’s still looking for something more…then avoiding all talks of labels by saying manipulative things like “only people with bad communication need labels” IS douchebaggy. And, once again (I’m getting tired of saying this) I would say the same thing if a female was doing that to a dude. Sheesh.

      38. I typically try really hard to see both sides of the coin on these issues and the reason I decided this guy was an “ass hat” was because he blatently is avoiding calling their situation FWB so that the LW still has hope for more. If he wasn’t an ass hat, and they are the type of exes who can be friends, then he would have said something consisting of “hey, do you want to keep hooking up as friends even though we aren’t together?” Then the LW could have made a clear decision rather than feeling confused / second guessing herself and allowing him in…he is definitely being manipulative because not only did he fail to have that conversation up front, but when the LW tried to have it he danced around the issue.

        And for the record I think being called an ass hat is fairly PG-13…

      39. iseeshiny says:

        Actually, I believe you called him a bag of ass hats. But I guess it’s not man-bashing when you do it – cause you’re a dude. Don’t you dare call a woman an ass hat though – in the spirit of fairness I think that would make you a woman hater if we go with JR’s logic 😛

  2. LW1: if both your name are on the title, both of you own it 50%. In case of a break up, the asset would need to be split. Essentially you sell and split the proceeds or he buys you out. Either way you get your money back.

    Addie, I am sure will correct me, but I don’t think you need another contract to protect your financial interest in the property. After all you are both owners.

    Of course there could be disagreement on how to split it, who gets to stay in it for instance but I doubt it’s something you need to settle going in. Afterall it’s equally likely that you will sell the condo to buy a house and raise children and I doubt you were thinking of including this in there.

    The one issue that could get muddy is that his parents are essentially financing your share of the condo and maybe that needs to be cleaned up.

    1. Seems like her name isn’t in the title–she just pays him equity. His parents bought it for them.

    2. I got the feeling that both of their names weren’t going to be the contract. My understanding was that that boyfriend’s parents were buying it in his name, and she was going to be paying some of the mortgage, so she’d have some equity in it, but it wouldn’t be a 50/50 split. I could be wrong though.

      1. This is what I thought too…

      2. I read it that way too. She wouldn’t get what the parents invested but would get back her contribution.

    3. I am so so so not pro-marriage at all, but this seems like one case where it would be the easiest ‘legal contract’ to solve this problem……..
      Thats all marriage is! A contract!

  3. LW1 definitely should have a contract to protect her financial interest in the property. It is true that they are both owners, but she didn’t say whether it is a clear 50/50. Contracts with details are never a bad idea. Property laws can get pretty complicated and very from state to state, so she should have a property lawyer look at the contract, not just a friend who happens to be a lawyer. I’m a lawyer, but I don’t practice property law, so I would not let a friend use me as the person to review this kind of situation. They need to have a neutral third party (not a lawyer her boyfriend works with, not her friend who happens to be a lawyer) look at the contract.

  4. SpaceySteph says:

    Oh for heaven sakes. I have never agreed more with all the letters in a shortcuts being shortcuts.
    1. Yes get yourself a contract. It stinks of him leaving loopholes in the contract, knowing that you don’t have the legal background to know. Beware the guy that calls you crazy, after all.
    2. So much unnecessary drama. Invite the guy. Tell your cousin that you understand if Boston is too far for her to travel, but its your daughter’s damn wedding and that you don’t want to hear it anymore.
    3. Read your letter again and tell me you honestly still have questions. What an asshat.

    1. Idk if the bf in the first letter is doing that…if he is then having a 3rd party check it will be a good way for her to go get her own place after dumping him.

      I can understand him feeling how he feels, but he should also know that it is just good business on the LW’s part to have someone read it over…he would never advise one of his clients to sign a document without knowing all the bases are covered.

      1. He should want her to have legal representation – particularly if he is considered a sophisticated party at law. The whole contract can be thrown out if you don’t come to the terms “equally” so to speak. Seems odd a lawyer would have a problem with another lawyer reviewing the document. Get it looked at asap.

      2. She should have it looked at regardless – just saying I can see some immature insult being taken by her wanting to get a lawyer to look it over rather than malicious intent…if she suspects and there is grounds for malicious intent then she should let him live there and go get her own place.

      3. Or live there for free – and put the money she would have spent on equity into her bank account.

      4. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        “Seems odd a lawyer would have a problem with another lawyer reviewing the document.”

        Actually, I totally understand where the guy is coming from on that. I had this exact same problem with my fiancee when I drafted us up some healthcare powers of attorney to sign after we get married this spring. I take a great deal of pride in my thoroughness in drafting legal documents, and for her to say “I want another lawyer to look at this” is like saying “I don’t trust you to be fair”, which I felt was incredibly unreasonable when I had given her no reason to doubt my fairness. Call it ego, call it vanity, call it whatever, but lawyers don’t like being told their work isn’t good enough.

        It’s actually a heck of a lot simpler than everyone’s making it out to be: LW1’s boyfriend HAS to make it an equitable contract, because if he doesn’t then LW1 can, if it comes to it, claim an inequity in bargaining power. And the only real defense to that claim? Proving that the contract was, in and of itself, as equitable as it could possibly be given the circumstances at the time of signing. And even if she had the option to see a lawyer and chose not to, she could still raise that argument.

        Look, you’ve been with the guy for six and a half years. I think if you’ve been with someone that long, a little bit of faith is reasonably warranted. No offense, but if you’re honestly with someone that long and you still don’t trust him enough to come to an agreement on this issue between the two of you, you have MUCH bigger problems in your relationship than getting your money’s worth in equity.

      5. LW1’s boyfriend also HAS to allow her to have another attorney look at it to avoid issues with the ethics rules. Under a reading of most of them, the boyfriend is actually supposed to suggest she consult an attorney.

      6. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        That’s actually patently untrue. I can say that the ethics rules in my state absolutely have zero references to there being a requirement for a lawyer doing a business dealing with a non-lawyer to recommend the use of outside counsel. You can say that he SHOULD suggest it for moral reasons, but don’t say that he could get disciplined, suspended, or disbarred for failing to do it.

      7. I get your point, but isn’t there a rather high bar to an unconscionability defense? It’s not simply that one party is more sophisticated in negotiating and defining contracts. There needs to be a gross inequality and that the weaker party had no meaningful ability to influence the terms of the contract. And the contract must be determined to be ‘unreasonable’. I’m not an attorney, but that’s how it’s been explained to me.

      8. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        There is and there isn’t. In this specific situation, I’d argue it’s not quite that high a bar, given that he’s a lawyer, she’s not, and the contract isn’t likely to be all that complex. If we were talking a 50 page document with tons of footnotes and legal references, sure, but this is probably a page or two, tops, and proving that it is “unreasonable” isn’t going to be all that hard to do if it is actually unreasonable. And showing a party’s failure to hire outside counsel isn’t generally enough to defeat a “lack of meaningful ability” argument.

      9. It has absolutely nothing to do with the LW1 thinking her BFs ‘work isn’t good enough.’ and everything to do with the fact that he’s a lawyer and she’s not, and thats where the inequality stems from. It would be like signing a contract in another language without a 3rd party translator. I think your trust card is invalid here, no offense.

      10. As a lawyer who has represented non-lawyers who were getting divorced from lawyers in the past, I’d absolutely recommend that the LW have another attorney review the documents. I’ve seen many a lawyer take advantage of his non-lawyer wife’s “trust” and draft documents that would make your toes curl. Trying to undo a legal document that you have signed by saying you did not read it or understand it and explaining why you didn’t get legal counsel is extraordinarily difficult and not always successful. It’s best just to do it on the front end. And, yes, beware a lawyer who isn’t comfortable with another lawyer reading his work.

      11. Yes exactly! just because you *might* have a claim against someone doesn’t mean you will win. It is a high bar-not to mention long and expensive. I mentioned below that in the long run it’s just cheaper and smarter to get someone to review it upfront

      12. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

        “And, yes, beware a lawyer who isn’t comfortable with another lawyer reading his work.”

        Let me try rephrasing my initial argument: I think the context of their conversation is imperative to how much trust she should give him. A lot of this depends on whether she’s actually asked him and he’s acted squirrely (sp?) or whether she hasn’t tried to ask him yet and immediately jumped to “I need a different lawyer to explain this to me.” If it’s the former, then, yeah, I totally agree that someone else should look at it. But if it’s the latter, then THAT is where my argument comes in. Blindly failing to trust someone you’ve been with for SIX AND A HALF years without his giving you any reason to doubt him (and, honestly, the LW’s off-hand note that he doesn’t want to involve other parties in their personal lives is NOT enough justification, because, again, we don’t know if it was “No, no one else needs to read this. It’s fine” or “Look, before you get another person involved, why not just go through and ask me everything you want me to answer?”) means your relationship is shot to hell and you should probably get out of it. Let’s give him the opportunity to make you doubt him before you actually start doubting him. Generally speaking, a person who loves you would have no reason not to protect you in this kind of situation in this contract.

      13. theattack says:

        This has nothing to do with the quality of work, and it really is only halfway related to trust. It should be everyone’s personal policy to get important stuff like this checked by an attorney. The only issue here is that he is his own attorney, so there’s no problem for him. She happens to need to bring one along with her.

        My boyfriend is an attorney practicing family law, and I very much trust his work as well as his fairness to me. But if it comes time to sign a pre-nup, or a moving-in contract like this one, or divorce papers – hell yeah I’d want somebody to look it over! It will have nothing at all to do with our relationship, and everything to do with accountability to myself. And because he is a good man who won’t try to screw me over, he’ll want me to have my own attorney just to prevent any sort of disturbance in my peace of mind. In fact, if I didn’t suggest getting one, I’m certain he would insist on it anyway. Good attorneys should understand the importance of knowing the legal issues surrounding what you’re signing your name to! And good partners should understand the importance of making sure you’re taken care of and giving you a peace of mind.

      14. No one is saying the work isn’t fair enough or good enough – but the only way to establish that – if you are not trained in law yourself – is to speak to someone who is and who can verify the contract is fair.
        Maybe it is a question of vanity – but she shouldn’t be legally compromised because he is vain.

      15. While I agree that the LW can claim the contract was inequitable – ie: they didn’t come to the table with the same bargaining power and he took advantage of that etc (hypothetical situation) you have to keep in mind that lawsuits are expensive. It will be cheaper in the long run for her to just get another lawyer to review it. Not to mention give her peace of mind

        This situation reminds me of people’s reactions to pre-nups-when one party suggests it and the other balks and thinks that they don’t trust them – if we can accept pre-nups then surely we can accept the LW wanting a lawyer to look over the contract

      16. Disagree 900%. I am married to a lawyer and in similar circumstances he was the one who TOLD ME “get someone else (aka a lawyer) to look at this” because he did NOT want me to come back later whining I had no proper representation. If her guys is saying this, he is one insecure lawyer. And btw she does NOT need his permission. JUST DO IT.

      17. “Seems odd a lawyer would have a problem with another lawyer reviewing the document. Get it looked at asap.”

        agreed. very odd.

  5. LW1: With your boyfriend being a lawyer, I’m a little surprised that he is so offended that you’d consult someone about it. Hopefully, it’s because he’s being silly and not because he was hoping you wouldn’t understand the contract.

    LW2: I think you’re blowing this out of proportion. If your daughter doesn’t know him, then why invite him? I wouldn’t feel slighted if I didn’t receive an invitation from someone I didn’t know. But you must have known that your daughter didn’t know him before you asked, right? Anyway, the wedding is in Boston, not Michigan, so I don’t know what the point is of arguing about it.

    LW3: Yes, withdraw yourself. He’s an ex.

    1. Didn’t you know that if a guest complains enough the bride and groom will move the wedding from their area of living to the guests?

    2. Something More says:

      Maybe he is more offended that she’s not confident in his lawyer-ness. My boyfriend works in IT and I Googled something that I knew how to do, but had a major brain fart and couldn’t remember. He saw that I had Googled it and, I think, was a little hurt that I didn’t just ask him (he was sitting on the couch with me). Like his knowledge wasn’t reliable enough.

      But I do agree that she should get it looked at by a third party.

  6. CottonTheCuteDog says:

    What kind of wedding invites the parent’s cousins? That must be some close family members there.

    1. My sister invited our Mom’s cousins to hers. Our great Aunt (my Mom’s Aunt) is closer in age to my Mom than our Grandmother and so they’re more like our cousins than hers. She always felt more like an Aunt because of how much older she was. And we’ve always been closer to them because of that…

    2. So close they don´t even know one of the cousin´s children.

    3. I grew up in a small Midwest town. It’s the way thing are done there. Of course, not all the time, but I am saying it isn’t unheard of.

      Although I think things are changing with each generation.

    4. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      I plan on inviting my parents cousins and all of their children. I have a very large and very close family. Most of my extended family (including the rents cousins) live with in 10 miles of our farm. It all depends on how close your family is.

    5. My dad is from a huge extended family and everyone grew up and still lives in the same general area and sees each other fairly regularly. So whenever one of his cousins’ kids gets married, EVERYONE gets invited. If I ever get married (doubtful), I’ll probably end up inviting them all too! I live 1000 miles away though, so none of them would probably make the trip.

  7. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

    LW1- Get a lawyer. It doesn’t matter how great you guys are today. The fact is people change and you don’t want to get the shitty end of the stick.

    LW2- You’ve already asked for the address so you have to invite this guy. How do you have family members that you don’t know all of their children? He’s not obligated to send a gift, IMO that tradition has died out. And I would tell the lady if she doesn’t want to go to Boston to not come to the wedding. It’s not her wedding so she doesn’t get to pick the city.

    LW3- What? You’re not good enough to be his girlfriend (or what ever unlabeled thing you want to call it?) but he’s still up your butt 24/7? Tell him to either man up and date you for real with the “stupid” labels that only uncommunicative people use OR he go on his marry way and you’ll find someone else who actually wants to be your boyfriend.

    Man, sometimes I wonder about people. These 3 letters are crazy!

  8. 1. When your counterparty is a lawyer, you definitely need a lawyer. And I’m leaning towards waiting until you marry before getting into a property with the BF. Face it, you don’t entirely trust him.

    2. Dan / Dave , Brenda /Barbera ?!? – just tell his mom that he’s not expected to send a gift or come at all and that you’re just sending him an invite as a courtesy. She’ll do the rest.

    3. He thinks that you’re irresponsible and potentially unstable, but probably wants to continue having sex with you.

    1. theattack says:

      Why do you say she doesn’t entirely trust him? Do you think that based solely on the fact that she’s wanting another lawyer, or something else you picked up on?

      1. It’s her fear of him becoming vindictive, his fear that she doesn’t trust him, her having to state that she does, mention of significant road blocks, dead boyfriends, family interference etc.. And yes, the fact that she feels the need to have someone check his work. There’s something in their past that causes her concern. It may not be that she doesn’t trust his motives, but his competency.

  9. LW#3 – aw honey. You are his ex that he wants to have sex with while you pine away for him and play supportive girlfriend when it is convenient for him. He isn’t even your friend. Don’t continue this relationship at all – it will just damage your self esteem to be the booty call of a guy whose mature version of breaking up is to blame you for being a free spirit – particularly when you still have strong feelings for him. RR is right – show him exactly how free your spirit is and take it to go find another man who will appreciate you.

    1. I love your answer. So great. I think people hate being alone so much sometimes. When they sit in that fear, they would rather keep the connection with a bad person rather than be alone completely. LW, you should find better companionship then this.

  10. You know LW I think this is a good time to sit your bf down and explain that having someone else look at the document isn’t about not trusting him, it’s about doing good business. It can never hurt to have someone check over your work and make sure that it’s done correctly. I know I always have a co-worker check over important presentations, manuals, etc before I let them go live. And a legally binding contract should be gone over in even more detail.

  11. DW, another awesome set of responses. I think this has been the best week ever on this site!
    TGIF all.

    1. Aw, thanks. It was actually a rough week for me personally, so that’s nice to hear.

      1. Boo! I hope things are getting better!

        Your site always picks me up – I think it’s because even with the rough issues that get tackled, there’s always a voice (and often many voices) of reason, and in contrast with many conversations on the internets (and in life), that’s just frikkin’ encouraging.

        So, a very happy Friday to you and yours!

  12. LW1, definitely have another lawyer look over it. If your boyfriend protests, say you are doing it for his own interests. In most states that have adopted some from of the ABA model ethics rules, pressuring you to sign the contract without representation could cause him to be reprimanded or even have his license suspended. A lawyer who is a party to the contract shouldn’t write the contract in the first place, and if he does, he certainly needs to actively encourage you to seek your own representation. I work in attorney discipline right now, and this is a problem I have seen before.
    Get a lawyer to look over it and protect yourself. If your boyfriend has that big of a problem with it, maybe moving in together isn’t the best thing to do right now.

  13. In regards to LW2 – It is ridiculous for people to assume that all people get married “back home”. And, I have some experience with this because my family (NC) is already giving me grief about an eventual wedding in NYC (WHERE I LIVE) and I’m not even engaged yet.

    I swear, the entitlement baffles me sometimes. “Well, your whole family lives in NC, why would you inconvenience all of them??”

    Sorry, I know I’m going off on a tangent rant, but I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would think the wedding of someone else has anything to do with them. Ask the bride what she wants to do. After all, it’s HER WEDDING!

    1. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

      Although I do plan on marrying on my parents farm, I totally get what you mean. Families tend to feel entitled to certain things that surround a wedding like location, who’s invited, who gets a plus one, etc. My family lives in PA and the BF in NC/SC and there has been some grumbling about our planned PA wedding. Our response is- we want to get married there and we’re paying for it. If you don’t want to come to PA don’t.

      The thing that really makes me man is his family “expects” plus ones for all single guests over 18. OMG hello budget ruiner.

      1. Um, NO. I’m sorry, but I would tell them “Our budget includes XYZ amount of people and we have invited those. If you feel that more guests need to attend over our budgeted list, feel free to pay for them yourselves.”

        Basically, I feel that someone has been dating someone seriously for over 6 months; they can bring their guest to the wedding. Allowing people to bring a guest (or find a guest) to a wedding just for the sake of “etiquette” is silly. (Personal opinion, don’t tackle me!)

      2. Avatar photo GatorGirl says:

        Oh I am totally with you. If you’re not in a committed relationship with guest of my wedding I don’t want you there. Sorry. It’s my wedding…not time to met cousin Danny’s flavor of the week. I’m over “etiquette”- it’s our wedding, we’re paying for it, so shush.

  14. LW1

    A gift is suppose to be a gift. His parents allegedly gift him a condo, but this isn’t really a gift is it?

    If I want to give my child a home, I give it to him or her with the deed in his or her OWN NAME. Being that my child is a mature and intelligent adult, I would trust my child with the property. If my child wants give his girlfriend/partner/spouse/companion.. whatever you label it some ownership in the property that is their choice to do as adults.

    I understand there are tax issues when it comes to large monetary gifts, maybe everyone is just trying to play out of a tax loop-hole if we give the benefit of the doubt. There are easier ways of gifting your children money in small increments over time without funky weirded-out contracts.

    Maybe the two of you could be happier purchasing a condo on your own credit and earnings, without his parents ‘getting into your business’. If they want to gift you money towards the mortgage, that is their choice without the manipulation of contracts.

    1. The contract seems to be between the LW and her bf, it doesn’t have anything to do with the parents. At least not the way I read it, they’re putting the home in his name and the LW is paying him equity. The LW would need to be protected in some legal way if her bf were to die, because they’re not married. So I’m guessing this contract stipulates just that, something that they would have to do even if the bf purchased the home himself.

      1. Deleted my redundant comment.

      2. I still don’t get the need to pay equity. If there is no mortgage, just gift her a small percentage of the deed and file it at the registry or register a document as a tenant on the property.

        If it is property rights, really it’s not the contract between the two of them but rather what is public record as land ownership. LW1 is complaining it’s no one business, but land/property ownership is public. I can go online and see locally in my country who owns what, and what they have for a mortgage plus any liens.

      3. oops county.

      4. it would seem that they decided together that this is what they wanted. for her to become part owner by giving him money towards the condo. i mean that’s not the part she’s asking for help with, it would seem that she’s happy with that portion of the agreement. and part of this contract they’re writing up deals with the issue that they’re not married and what would happen in the case that they split up or he would die. i don’t really know legally what would happen if they weren’t married and her name was just on the deed and he were to die. maybe one of the lawyers can explain, but it would seem even in that case you would want to be protected by a contract in case?

      5. lets_be_honest says:

        If her name was on the deed, she would have ownership of the property.

      6. thanks, lbh 🙂

        i guess my question then would be, what would happen if he went that route and then they broke up? would he have to buy her out if she was on the deed and was angry post break up and did something crappy like that? i guess i see the contract as protecting them both for that reason.

  15. I understand your points. But why bring up the parents in her letter?

    He owns the property with no mortgage. She can be a legal resident, even as a live-in girlfriend that pays nothing.
    Why is he insisting she pay him for equity? He doesn’t have to give her anything, and she can still be a legal resident.

    She states

    “I don’t trust an angry ex-boyfriend or a dead boyfriend’s parents. In those horrible situations, the last thing I’d want to do is fight about money or get kicked out”

    If you break up or he dies, you move out because it’s his place and his estate goes back to his parents. Really a no brain-er.

    If she is having these types of concerns, then don’t move in with him.

    Find a place you can both afford a mortgage together on your own income and credit, like normal people, and both be on the deed.

    1. i’m guessing she brought them in to explain the situation.

      and they’re putting the contract together because they don’t want to get married but they both want to be legally protected in case something happens. i mean people can be together long term and want the other person to be protected in case of their death, even if they’re not married. which it seems is what is happening in this case.

      why do they have to do it the way you say ‘normal’ people do it. she should be concerned about what would happen if they were to break up or he were to die. i mean are they pleasant to think about? no, but you do have to protect yourself.

      1. I don’t really no much about it, but if they were really worried about his accidental death, then couldn’t he just draw up a will, and leave her the house? That way she doesn’t have to pay, and if they do get married she can become a legal owner of the house. If I was this guy, the only way I would want my girlfriend to get my free house that was given to me would be if I died, and we were on good terms, but if we broke up, I wouldn’t want her to be part owner/living in my free house that my parents gave to me.

      2. know

      3. yeah i guess i was thinking she would only get the house if he died. from what she wrote it would seem she would potentially get some of the money she put in to the house back if they were to break up? at least that’s how i read it….

    2. She doesn’t want the parents owning the estate if he dies. She wants to be part owner of it without being married and since they aren’t married they are drawing a contract for her to make payments towards equity of the home.

      She wants to make sure he has covered her to reside there in case he dies or if they break up she gets reimbursed for her equity… What I think is funny is everyone saying he is trying to pull a fast one on her…but when that contract is drawn…he “accidentally” dies and she owns a condo…you could read into both sides if you wanted…

      Personally I think she should just live their and save the money she would pay in equity to buy a house if they ever break up…if they get married…then she legally owns the house too.

      1. Couldn’t edit…obviously that “their” should be “there.”

      2. My apologies, because that is what is throwing me off.

        Is her boyfriend, being an honest son, being upfront and disclosing this to his parents on their intentions on having LW1 be part-owner after the condo?

        From the letter we don’t know if the parents are aware that LW1 will see herself as a part-owner in the property? My problem may not be with an agreement, but I believe that parents should know this. She can be protected, but should be misled only the son owns the property.

        We all agree LW1 is right in wanting to see a lawyer, and in many states agreements in property are filed at the local land/deed registry with notarization. Not fair for the parents to be under the assumption just their son owns the property, and LW1 whips out this agreement,,

        As I said I wouldn’t care as a parent, but do these parents care?

      3. in a rush poorly written sorry.

      4. Good questions for sure. I wonder if they would have bought it knowing he was going to collect money from his potentially live-in gf “towards equity”…alledgedly.

      5. LW’s boyfriend had no problem it being known and public his parents are buying him a condo, but he wants no one to know that LW will have an interest she paid for???

        This LW though has been long term and the parents are fully aware this will be her residence, so the idea that LW’s boyfriend wants to keep it between the two of them can only make you ask questions of why?

  16. kerrycontrary says:

    LW3: If your ex wanted to be with you, he would. That boisterous/free spirit thing is just a nice way of saying “I don’t like you anymore”. And you dont want him to be with other women? too bad. Because clearly he does. that’s why he broke up with you. MOA.

  17. lets_be_honest says:

    I wonder how the parents feel about LW1 situation. I’d be a little annoyed to be honest if I gave my kid a house and then his girlfriend took half of it with her half basically being financed by them.

    1. i think that’s just a risk you take when gifting something like that to an adult child. it becomes theirs to choose what to do with. doesn’t mean it’s not annoying/frustrating…..

    2. I was in this situation for a bit. I moved in with my BF while job hunting/transitioning into a new city. His dad, who actually paid the mortgage had no issues with my temporary stay, but his mother, man was she not happy and kept making little comments about how I was ‘taking advantage of his kindness’ and couldn’t MY parents just rent me a place. But I mean, she wasn’t my biggest fan in general so I’m sure it varies person to person.

  18. LW1 your BF has it made! He gets a free condo, makes money off of it by you paying him to be part owner, and he is a Lawyer! That is mighty nice of him! I guess I just don’t get why you are paying him for something he got for free, when you could be saving your money incase you break up, and if you plan on getting married you can transfer the deed to be in your name aswell. Just set up another savings account that you can put that money in, and that you wont touch that way you have a nice little exit plan.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Well when you put it that way!!
      I assume she’s either paying into ownership or paying rent. I wouldn’t let someone live with me for free. So there goes her saving the money.

      1. I would let you live with me for free, if I planned on marrying you, and I got a free house. Save the money for other things that could happen in life.

      2. yep – if I was living for free – I wouldn’t make my longterm partner pay rent.

      3. Did you say you live in upstate NY?

        I go to Syracuse a couple of times a year, didn’t know if you ever played near there? I have a lot of family in the music industry, and love listening to good music. I actually have two cousins in H20, and cousin in Walls of Jerihco, and a cousin in Death before Dishonor.

      4. Not yet – I’m disappointed you were in the city and didn’t make it to my show though! (JK – the city is a big place)

        We spend most of our time playing within a couple hours of my hometown (funding recording) and get out to Rochester, Buffalo, Philly, NYC as work and finances allow…it’s tough right now working 40-50 hours a week and doing the band thing. Album out on March 27 though so maybe some momentum can pick up.

        If you have any contacts in the Syracuse area I would love to know.

      5. I wish I did have contacts up there, I just go up there to visit friends, that city is so much fun a lot of places to drink, and everyone loves to do Jager Bombs.

        You should just come play in Mass, the ride can’t be any longer than what you are doing now!

      6. lets_be_honest says:

        Is that an offer? 😉

        The more I think of it, yea, if my house were given to me for free, I guess I’d be ok with it so long as I didn’t think I was being taken advantage of (maybe). This whole thing would make me uncomfortable though, parents giving son a massive gift, him giving half of it to a girlfriend, her paying into it. All of it seems messy and asking for a problem, which I guess is why they’re doing a contract. I’d rather see what you are saying–save the money, maybe pay half the property taxes. Just imagining how I’d feel if I were him and we broke up.

      7. As long as you keep saying what’s on your mind instead of holding back, because of what other people might think, then it is an offer! So when I get somebody to give me a free house, it’s you and I!

      8. lets_be_honest says:

        Don’t you go forgettin about me!

      9. You could also contribute in other ways, such as groceries or utilities.

      10. Even if you weren’t paying any?

  19. Married by Elvis says:

    LW1 – I am a lawyer and you absolutely must have your own lawyer look over this (and any pre-nup -Good God!). Your lawyer bf knows this & should insist on it. The fact that he’s not only not insisting on it, but is trying to discourage you is of great concern. He does not seem to have your best interest at heart at all! And I must say again, do NOT NOT NOT sign a prenup without your own independent lawyer.

    1. Aside from his motivations, there’s the question of whether he’s even competent to draw up the contract. He could be fully well intended and still screw things up. There are plenty of people who’ve gone to law school, and even taken a bar exam, who aren’t competent to practice as lawyers.

      There’s some reason that he doesn’t want anyone else to review that contract.

      1. theattack says:

        Exactly! And he may practice in an area of law where stuff like property never comes up, which makes it even more important for someone else to look over it. Even attorneys sometimes hire other attorneys when they don’t practice that area of law. It’s just smart.

    2. I totally agree! Its always best to have your own lawyer. And like Leroy said, if he’s not an attorney who regularly writes contracts of this nature, he may not have done it properly.

  20. Just how many lawyers are on here????

    1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

      Way too many!

    2. A site with presenting of opinions and arguments? How many people aren’t lawyers here, haha.

    3. Good question.

      Pls like JK’s comment if you are a practicing attorney – and like mine if you graduated from law school but aren’t practicing.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Or please like mine if you graduated in December and are taking the February bar and are flipping the f@!* out.

      2. lets_be_honest says:

        Hey wait—didn’t ForeverYoung say she was taking a hiatus from DW? Is this your way around that? If so, love it.

      3. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ha! No that wasn’t FY’s intention, but that is sneaky! FY imploded during my gravatar/I can’t figure out how to get signed up for the forums because I am technologically impaired episode a while back. Which by the way was never officially fixed bc I can only log into the forums on my phone… But not a laptop. Strange huh? Clearly I am registered with the right password and log in…. But yet?!?! It’s times like these I regret not marrying a computer geek.

        By the way I was talking to my father in law last night and his will came up and I warne him abou the lump sum charitable donation thing!!

      4. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh good!
        The thing I’ve encountered too many times with charitable donations in wills is this–Say my will gives 20% of my estate to ABC Charity, rather than $500,000 for example. With a percentage, the charity has a right (along with the attorney general) to supervise the entire probate of the estate, argue numbers, say estate bills are too high and fight them, and on and on. Now, its great to have someone oversee an estate, which is what the courts are for. The problem with the charity doing it is it ends up costing the estate a ton of money in legal fees, and slows down the whole process (like the beneficiaries actually getting any money at all). Bottom line is the charity wants as much money as they possibly can get from the estate. It makes everything so much more difficult than it needs to be. So for me, I would only ever donate a fixed amount to a charity, which they cannot argue about. A side note, I can’t believe some of the jerks that work for charities. I was shocked, real a-holes sometimes.

      5. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Ha well I was pretty close then! I just told him that if it was a percent it was just one more hand in the pot to use up legal resources unnecessarily.

        Ya if theres one thing ive learned its that there is rarely ever a truly innocent victim. Or rarely a selfless action. Most charitable contributions are for tax purposes, most plaintiffs werent angels either, and most business decisions are motivated by greed.

        So there’s your daily dose of optimism! 🙂

      6. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        Oh and what are you doing as a non practicing? Land man? Finance stuff? I want to be a non practicing working in the securities industry… Like maybe help brokerages with compliance issues. Well pretty much I’m just assuming I’m going to fail so if I act like I never intended to practice now it will be less embarrassing. I come up with new ideas of how not to work 1800 hours a year all the time, I’m getting pretty creative.

  21. For LW1 I’m suprised the boyfriend is offering equity at all.

    If my parents bought me a place, and I was moving in with my boyfriend, there is no way in hell I would give him equity. I would probably just charge for half the utilities.

    It really just doesn’t make sense – why is he basically selling her half the place month by month? The only time this issue would ever come up is if they broke up, and I’m pretty sure at that point he’d be regretting the decision.

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      Yea, I think I feel the same way.

    2. She said the only way she would move in like that is if she had equity….I can’t wrap my head around it either.

    3. lets_be_honest says:

      Another thing is if she really is “buying” the house month to month, she will have likely the tiniest percentage of ownership ever if they break up in the next few years. This is just a nonsensical dumb idea for all parties.

      1. Avatar photo iwannatalktosampson says:

        The whole arrangement seems really strange. Like did his parents give him a down payment or give him the whole condo? Because why would she pay for equity if they don’t have a mortgage at all? Why wouldn’t he just let her live there rent free and they could split like property taxes and all household bills?

    4. I also don’t understand why LW1 would still get to live there if they break up. Let’s say they break up in a few years and she only owns 20% of the house. Why would he let her live there? I know I wouldn’t if I were in this situation. Quite baffling.

      1. I sort of thought that her still living there would be if he were to die suddenly. Like his parents couldn’t just kick her out in that case.

      2. That one makes sense, but she said . . . “stipulating things like my right to live in the place in case of something bad happening (break up, death)”.

        I can see getting her money back in case of the break up, but not living there. Maybe that’s what she meant, but it’s not stated that way.

        Anyway, as Budj and others have said, I think I would rather invest my money and help out with things like groceries and utilities and internet. That money you wouldn’t get back in a break up, or divorce, anyway.

      3. I think the 20% equity would be reimbursed if they broke up or she would get the house if he died with some other unknown conditions they agreed on…at least I would hope that was the point of it….I STILL think she should live there…and just put money in the bank that she would have spent on investing in equity.

      4. That’s what’s a little crazy.

        So he not charging her rent, but he’s selling her a portion of his property, that his parents gave him. Why?

        Honestly if I were his wealthy father, this would raise a few flags – it seems a little gold diggerish. But maybe she just thinks that it’s the responsible thing to do. In any case, it’s an awkward arrangement that I probably wouldn’t want to introduce to a romantic relationship.

        And you’re right, for the returns on residential property right now, in most regions, investing the money elsewhere is probably going to be a better investment.

  22. I just scanned all the comments and don’t see Addie?! Addie Pray where are you?!!!!

    1. lets_be_honest says:

      She’s been MIA for a few days now. I’m getting worried.

      1. She´s on vacation (yesterday? I think she posted something about being in Mexico).

      2. No excuse! Even if she is in another country she should still be DWing it up. I expect no less from our Addie.

      3. lets_be_honest says:

        Oh good! But now I’m jealous.

        And I totally agree with Lili.

      4. ReginaRey says:

        Yep, she’s in Mexico. Though I know she’ll be thrilled to learned people are worried about her whereabouts! Haha.

    2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

      Here I am, Lili! I loved seeing this shout out. I’m on vacation. In Mexico. The weather is kind of crappy but the food, drinks, books, and company are wonderful. Yesterday we were out on the beach on an overcast day. I have this theory that you CAN’T get tan/burned on an overcast day. You know, that the whole “UVA rays can still get you through clouds” bullshit. … Well, I kind of believe in that now. I got a nice tan yesterday because I put no sun screen on and, as it turns out, you CAN get sun on an overcast day. 🙂

      Also, yesterday we built this huge ass (is huge ass one or two words?) sand castle (yes, this is what grown, 30-something year old adults do on vacation). We took a break to go play in the waves when this big-breasted topless woman walks by and – I kid you not – starts jumping up and down on out unattended sand castle. Wtf?!

      Ok, now I want to address LW 1’s situation. And I haven’t read all the comments so this is likely NOT a new comment: LW, this makes no sense. The parents bought the house; they own it. You can pay your boyfriend all the “equity” you’d like but you’re not getting equity in that house without a written contract with the owners. (It’s been awhile since I took the bar, but a verbal contract to buy property is unenforceable. Not going to fly at all — um, especially with the owner’s son.) Is your BF trying to pull a fast one over you?? This is kind of Property Law 101. But eh it’s been awhile for me.

      1. I was thinking of you the other day… I read that a football player based his choice of college on the fact that he didn´t see a Chick-fil-a on campus at one of the possibilities, so he went with one that did. 🙂
        Enjoy Mexico!

      2. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

        Also, what are you actually expecting in this situation? That the $500 or whatever you contribute each month should equate to $500 of equity in the condo? So basically you’ve worked out a payment plan (I assume you haven’t contributed any cash downpayment whatsoever) where they advance all the money (ie, they’ve already purchased the condo) and you get to pay a little each month over time at 0 percent interest? Do you know anything about the condo? What is cost? What the HOA dues are? The taxes? The insurance? Are you also going to shell out money for a new roof or plumbing or whatever problems arise? Do you even know the condition of these things? Becoming owner can put you in a worse situation, you know. And is the BF going to be part owner too? In the event of death – one of the reasons you feel you need to become an owner – who takes over the BF’s ownership? Is it someone you’d want to co-own with? Ahhhhh!!! Even with all the omitted facts, this situation is so ridiculous that it’s making me mad. LW sounds like a naïve little girl who woke up one morning and said “that’s so cool you own this condo; can I own a little too?”

        LW, whip up a renter’s agreement — in the event of death or a breakup, they can’t kick you out until the end of the lease. I’m not sure you’d want anything more than that in this set up. What you’re paying is called rent.

      3. Hi Addie! Haha sorry to bug you when you were on vacay having fun and building sand castles! That sounds like so much fun and just what you needed. Every time you disappear I think maybe she started her cross country road trip?!

        Have a blast and can’t wait to hear more fun stories when you return 🙂

  23. 6napkinburger says:

    It also sounded to me like she was asking if she even needed to insist on a contract. The answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Every state has a “statute of frauds”‘whereby any contract having to do with land or real property MUST be written. So you will have zero legal claim without a written contract.

    As to whether you should get someone else to look at it, of course! Is he a property lawyer or in trusts and estates? If not, get a second opinion because he doesn’t know anything more about it than he learned studying for the bar (most law school classes are more about the theory). and it’s really easy to mess up land things.

    Now to be an armchair property lawyer. If someone dies, who is supposed to inherit it? Does he want you to have the whole thing or does does he want it to be apportioned with however much you put in? Is there an amount of total money that you could pay whereby you are an equal owner? At that point, will that change how you want it apportioned if someone dies? If you are doing this to avoid marriage, so you want he agreement to be as close to what would be true under a marriage? What happens when it comes one to sell it? Do you want to be 50/50 or whatever percentage you’ve paid in? How will that be determined? Is all your payment principal or is it part of a mortgage? If it’s part of a mortgage, do you know what the tax implications are? Will you deduct the portion of interest? So you qualify as a landowner doe tax purposes? All of these questions you should figure out before you sign anything and he most likely doesn’t have all those answers. Ask him those and he’ should agree to a third party. Unless he has answers to all, if he brings up “trust” again, bail.

  24. theattack says:

    Haven’t read anything else but the first letter and Wendy’s response to it. LW 1: Seriously, you’re right in thinking you need an attorney to look it over. Your boyfriend needs to be understanding of your need to protect yourself, especially since you’re not married and could potentially end up in a really crappy situation if things messed up with you two. Explain to him that you have reason to trust him, but that it’s your policy to plan for the worst case scenario in order to take care of yourself. And if it comes down to it, pull out the big, finger-pointing guns and ask him what he’s so afraid of with you getting an attorney. A loving, considerate partner should understand your need to take care of yourself at all times.

  25. LW3 – I cringed when I read your letter. It sounds like you’re open to whatever your ex wants and you’re just waiting for him to tell you what it is. You’re one half of this unlabeled relationship. Exactly why are you waiting for HIM to label it? Can’t you simply tell him what you want it to be, whether it’s friendly acquaintances, good friends, friends with benefits, monogamous lovers, etc and ask him if he’s on the same page?

    He may resist committing to any particular type of relationship with you but then, obviously, monogamous lovers is off the table. And his actions should make it pretty clear if it’s an fwb situation, good friends, etc.

    Speak up for yourself. Don’t let anyone else define what your relationship is. You know what you want. If he isn’t providing it, MOA.

  26. correct me if im wrong in thinking this, but isnt this contract that LW1 wants basically giving her the legal rights she would have anyway if they got married OR that she would have if her name was on the title?

    i think that the issue stems from the fact that the condo is a gift- his parents are paying for it. so, they (or maybe he), doesnt just want someone coming in, my marriage or by putting their name on the title, and cutting the gift they just gave their son in half. ….


    its a very weird situation….

    1. oh, and then on the other side of the “gift” issue, she doesnt want to live somewhere where the threat of her being kicked out literally at any time is there, which i get….

      1. The getting kicked out thing doesn’t hold water to me.

        He’ll be able to live in this condo payment free. I don’t see why he wouldn’t want to share that perk with her as long as they’re together. Why would having to vacate if there’s a problem later be such a burden? Not saying it’s a piece of cake to split up a household but it shouldn’t be any worse than if they rented an apartment together. Only in this case she should have decent nest egg to help with the relocation if she doesn’t insist on buying part of the condo. On the contrary, splitting up their household could be more complicated if she owns a portion of the property.

  27. LW 2, please don’t bother asking Brenda what Dan would or would not like. She doesn’t speak for him and she has shown her wedding etiquette to be sadly lacking. Invite him to the wedding just like every other family member or call him yourself if you really can’t deal with just trusting him to be an adult and make his own decisions about purchasing a ticket and/or a present for a family wedding in another state.

  28. LW 1, this is a bad deal. Your LAWYER boyfriend is telling to you sign a contract without being represented (!?!?) and Dude isn’t even paying for the property himself?! It stinks to high heaven, and putting yourself in such a vulnerable position with a LAWYER boyfriend who doesn’t believe in marriage is hideous. Run away from this offer and suggest that the two of you purchase a place together with mutual payments and mutual investment in the property. Dude’s parents can buy him a vacation condo somewhere if they are determined to give him property.

  29. LW1: I wonder if your boyfriend is concerned that you might end up consulting someone he knows who he wouldn’t want knowing his business? I have three cousins who are all dentists in the same state and it’s amazing how often they talk about all the dentists they know in common even though they live pretty far apart. If you have a lawyer in mind, just check that your bf is okay with that person?

  30. LW1- Your lawyer boyfriend should be completely on board with you having your own independent legal counsel look over the document. First of all, if you don’t, you could possibly have an argument down the road that you signed the document uninformed, and that might even make it unenforceable. These are pretty basic legal contract principles- you want everyone to be as informed as possible in order for the contract to be binding down the road. Your boyfriend should know this.

    Second, and more importantly, he doesn’t want you, as a non lawyer, to be as informed as possible prior to signing, and HE’S the one that thinks YOU don’t trust HIM? If the contract is on the up and up then why on earth would he have a problem with you understanding it as fully as possible? Ironically, his problem with you wanting to have a lawyer review the contract makes me not trust him.

    And the whole “wah I don’t want someone butting into my business” excuse? Um, he should know that attorneys are bound to secrecy on legal matters they work on for their clients. Again, this is pretty basic stuff.

    You know him better than I do, of course. Maybe he’s just a little put off by the non-romantic nature of things. Maybe I’m jaded because I’m mostly just exposed to contracts (and situations in general) gone wrong. But you guys are already in the process of acquiring property together, which is a business transaction that has serious potential to affect your financial well-being. Marriage itself is a contract. Do you know how incredibly uninformed most people are about what Community Property even is, who happily and quickly sign on the dotted line to get married when they truly have no clue what the legal ramifications of that contract even means?

    *Catches breath* Sorry. Rant over. Please have your own attorney look over your contract, and only sign it if you feel truly comfortable with all of the terms. If your attorney boyfriend is butt hurt over you wanting to understand an important document that you are signing then I can’t imagine he is a very good lawyer.

    1. Ha! Just went through the comments, awful lot of lawyers up in here!

  31. LW1 – I’m curious why you want to invest your money in this condo? Seems like it just complicates a simple situation. A legal agreement regarding your right to stay in the home in the event of break up, death, etc can be easily drawn up without you having to invest.

    You need the contract because you can’t be certain what might happen in the future but doesn’t introducing your investment in the house he owns just make any potential problems more difficult?

    Surely, your boyfriend doesn’t mind letting you use his parents generous gift with him. I think you should rethink the financial arrangement.

  32. WatersEdge says:

    LW 1- this is not your condo. It is his family’s condo, and you want to live there and own it too. The way you’re going about this is all wrong. Paying someone you love and are in a partnership with, for something they got for free, is a bad idea in the first place. Split utilities and taxes and call it a day. If your boyfriend wants to charge you rent for his free property (I.e., utilize his good luck to turn a profit off of you) then this is not someone you should consider long-term. He doesn’t see you as a true partner if that’s what he’s doing. If it was your idea… Well, it’s a bad idea. You have no right to take part of the condo his parents bought him just because you lived there. Take the money you would have spent on rent and save it. When you have a 20 percent down payment, buy an investment property. Then you can live with your boyfriend but still be a homeowner.

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