The Fourth District Court of Appeals recently affirmed that Florida law
recognizes oral cohabitation agreements between unmarried parties and
held that there is no entitlement to partition credits for expenses paid
using funds belonging to both owners of the subject real property.
In 2013, Plaintiff filed a complaint against Defendant for partition of
real property they owned as joint tenants with rights of survivorship.
In addition to half of the sale proceeds, Plaintiff sought partition credits
for expenses (mortgage and living expenses) paid on the property. Defendant
denied Plaintiff’s entitlement to partition credits.
On appeal, the Fourth District Court of Appeals was to determine whether
the evidence supported an oral cohabitation agreement and if so, whether
Plaintiff was entitled to partition credits for expenses paid using funds
belonging to both parties.
The Fourth District Court of Appeals began their analysis by affirming
that Florida law recognizes oral cohabitation agreements between unmarried
parties, stating that “unmarried cohabitants may agree to enter
into an enforceable contract that establishes rights and responsibilities
towards each other…as long as it is clear there is valid, lawful
consideration separate and apart from any express or implied agreement
regarding sexual relations.” Additionally, the Court held that nothing
in the Statute of Frauds requires that cohabitation agreements must be
in writing. On the issue of whether the evidence supported an oral cohabitation
agreement, the Court found that the parties’ course of conduct supported
the existence of a sufficiently definite agreement. Specifically, the
evidence demonstrated that the parties were in a relationship for over
forty years, they commingled their funds, made joint loans together, created
identical wills and trusts which left everything to each other.
Moreover, the Fourth District Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s
decision to decline to award Plaintiff any partition credits, stating
that there was substantial evidence to support the trial court’s
finding that Plaintiff paid the mortgage and other expenses with commingled
funds from both parties, and accordingly, Plaintiff was not entitled to
an award of partition credits.
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