Question: My girlfriend and I have two children and we have been together for almost ten years. Six years ago when we purchased our Glendale home, we purchased the home in my name only because my girlfriend had some credit problems. I want my girlfriend now to legally own our home. Do my girlfriend and I have a common law marriage that would give her an ownership interest in our Glendale home? If there is no common law marriage, am I allowed to add my girlfriend to the title to our Glendale home without applying for a new mortgage loan?
Answer: First, although Arizona recognizes common law marriages created in other states, a common law marriage cannot be created in Arizona. (Interestingly enough, in Texas a common law marriage can be created if the couple spends one night together with the intent to be married!)
Second, you cannot add your girlfriend to the title to the home without the mortgage lender having the right to call the entire mortgage loan balance due. If you take the “big leap” and get married to your girlfriend now, and then add her as your new wife to the title to your home, you should not have to get a new mortgage loan. Most lenders are prohibited by federal law from calling an existing mortgage loan due in certain transfers of title to a home, e.g., transferring the home to a spouse, or transferring the home to a revocable living trust.