Is it possible to get a name taken off of a deed?

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Is it possible to get a name taken off of a deed?

I bought my house in 2006 and put my
then girlfriends name on the deed only,
we split up 2 years later and she hasn’t
been back since. I have since married
and we want to sell but she won’t take
her name off the deed, is there anything
I can do?

Asked on February 18, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Delaware

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You cannot force her to remove her name from the deed: if she is on the deed, she is just as much an owner as you, and has the same rights to the house (even if she has in fact moved out; residence or occupancy does not affect ownership). She is therefore legally entitled, as an owner, to a share of the equity or proceeds from selling the home.
All you can do is:
1) Work out a price to voluntarily buy her interest out, if she is willing to and there is some price that works for both of you.
2) Get her to agree to a voluntary sale, in which case she will get her share of the proceeds once the sale is accomplished.
3) If she won't agree to sell but you want to, you can bring a lawsuit or legal action (commonly called an action "for partition") to get a a court order compelling that the property be sold and the proceeds distributed between the owners.
We have to emphasize again that since she is an owner, she is entitled to a share of the property's value; she can voluntarily choose to give that up, but you cannot make her give it up--owners (i.e. people on the deed) get a share of the proceeds when property is sold.


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