My son just found out that his girlfriend has moved on to another man. My son and this girl purchased a house together 2 years ago. At that time I gifted my son 10K for the down payment and she didn’t have any money down on the home. The loan is in both of there names. If they agree that my son will keep the home I would think he would refinance it but would she need to sign something to get off the original loan? We live in Washington State. Just trying to help my son start the process. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

Asked on May 9, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Washington


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

She can voluntarily give up her ownership interest to him with a quitclaim deed, but as stated, that is voluntary: there is no way to force her to give up her interest other than an action for partition which results in *both* of them selling the home to a third party (see below), since one private citizen (your son) cannot force another (the girlfriend) to give up her right to something she owns. (There would be an exception to this if they'd had a written agreement in place that under certain circumstances, one would force the other to sell to him/her--but I assume that is not the case.)
When the two (or more) owners of real estate cannot agree as to what to do with it, their recourse is for one to bring a lawsuit for "partition" in chancery court (a part or division of county court): in that lawsuit, he or she asks for a court order directing that, because the owners our deadlocked or at a loggerheads, the property be sold and the proceeds--after paying any costs of sale and any mortgage balance--be distributed among the owners.

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