Divvying dilemma: Only one co-owner’s name is on deed

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Editor's note: Robert Bruss is temporarily away. The following column from Bruss' "Best of" collection first appeared Sunday, March 19, 2006. DEAR BOB: My fiance and I are splitting after a 10-year relationship. During this time, we bought two single-family houses and one duplex. When we started acquiring these properties, my credit was poor due to a bankruptcy, so all the property is in her name. I am worried that nothing is in my name. What should I do to protect myself and my interest in these properties, which have greatly appreciated in market value? --Dan C. DEAR DAN: Please consult the best real estate attorney in town. Unless you have some type of written agreement, you might find it very difficult to prove an oral agreement to co-own the properties and split the profits upon sale. Now is the time to determine your exact legal rights in the properties, if any. Purchase Bob Bruss reports online. It might be necessary to bring a legal action for a "declaratory j...