I am divorced from my 1st husband and we are co-deed holders on the house that he and his wife are living in. I want to know if I can make him buy my half out or do we have to sell?

He is the mortgage holder but we are co deed holders. He is responsible for the
mortgage and pays it every month. I just want to be rid of this property so I
can just dissolve the last thing that attaches us other than our grown children.

Asked on April 15, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can't force him to buy you out; however, if you are co-owners and cannot jointly decide or agree on what to do, you can file a lawsuit in chancery courty (a part or division of county court) for "partition" in which you ask the court to order that the property be sold and the proceeds (if any) be distributed between the owners--that is how the law handles the situation of property owners where at least one wants to go her separate way(s). The suit could be settled by him voluntarily agreeing to buy you out, if he is willing to. If you wish to explore this option, consult with a real estate attorney.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is something in the law known as "partition". Basically, it is a legal remedy that is employed when a co-owner of property wants to sell but the other does not. In a partition action, the court will order that the property be divided if practical. If not, as in the case of a single family house, the court will then order "a sale in lieu of partition". This means that the house will be put on the market and sold at fair market value. Once sold, the proceeds will be equitably divided between the parties. That having been said, if one of the co-owners wants to keep the property, then they can buyout the owner who wants to sell (again for fair market value). Accordingly, if your husband will not willingly refinance to buy you out and get your name off of the title, then you could file an action in partition. At this point, you should consult further with a local attorney who can best advise you further.

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