If I’m separating from a woman I have lived with for 22 years and we purchased a house 10 years ago, what happens if we can’t agree about what to do with it?

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If I’m separating from a woman I have lived with for 22 years and we purchased a house 10 years ago, what happens if we can’t agree about what to do with it?

The house is in both of our names. If we are unable to come to an agreement about this house, what are my options?

Asked on December 28, 2015 under Real Estate Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

You can file an action for "partition". This is a legal remedy available to joint owners of property (both real and personal) if they cannot agree as to ownership matters.  Partition allows for the division of property among co-owners and any co-owner can file. 
If the property can be physically divided the court will so instruct. However, if division would be impracticable (such as here with a single family house), the court will order that there be a sale in lieu of partition, with a corresponding equitable division of the proceeds among the owners. 
Note: Before doing so the court would permit one of the owners to purchase the interest of the remaining owner at fair market value.
At this point you should consult directly with a real estate attorney in your area; they can best advise you further.


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