Q: My girlfriend and I have been living together for about 5 months and dating for about 1.5 years. I have saved up and used the money I saved to buy a house. She is going to be living with me in the house. She has not put any money into the house, hasn’t helped with down payment, purchasing the new appliances, nothing. The mortgage is in my name but she wants her name, along with mine on the deed.

What are the specific ramifications if we have a nasty break up? Would there be any way to take her off if I did put her on it? Should I have her sign a quit claim deed now just in case?

A: Please don’t put your girlfriend on the property title until you decide to get married or she has contributed substantially to the equity of the property and has become a full partner in this investment. You will also want to know who will contribute money towards the upkeep and monthly costs for the home.

If she owns half the home and you break up, it will cause you big problems, because she will own half of the property but will have no liability on the mortgage. If you bought and now pay for the property with your own funds, and are legally liable for the entire mortgage, property taxes and insurance, your name alone should be on the title.

If your girlfriend decides she would like to buy into the property and help pay for its upkeep, and you’re still not married, please have a real estate attorney craft a partnership deal that spells out who owns what, who put in what, how much one partner would have to pay to the other if one decides to “opt out” of the deal, and who is entitled to what in case you break up. This includes furniture, appliances, and other items.

Jan. 19, 2009.