How can I force my ex wife to sell the house that we own together?

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How can I force my ex wife to sell the house that we own together?

Our divorce was final in August 2016 in Pennsylvania. We
chose to do a no fault divorce and handle the property
ourselves. She was to get refinanced in her name at which
time I would sign off of deed. She can’t get refinanced in a
timely manner and is currently behind on payments. My
credit is suffering and I want to just sell the property. How
can I force her to sell and salvage my credit?

Asked on March 29, 2017 under Family Law, Indiana

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You can file a legal action known as a "partition". This is a legal remedy that is employed when owners of jointly held property cannot agree as to ownership matters. In such an action, if the property in question can be equally divided it will be. If it cannot be so divided, then the judge will order a sale and the proceeds to be equitably distributed. First, however, any owner who wants to keep the property will have the chance to buy out the other owner(s) for fair market value.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only way to force her to sell would be to bring a legal action (lawsuit) for "partition": that is, for a court order requiring that the property be sold and the proceeds (after paying costs of sale and paying off any mortgages and liens) split between the owners. That is the law's remedy for when the two (or more) owners of property cannot agree as to what to do with it. The lawsuit can be voluntarily resolved by her catching up on payments and refinancing within an agreed-upon time, so a sale and division (of the proceeds) is not the only possible outcome, but "partitition" remains the remedy if you and she cannot, even after the lawsuit is filed, work matters out voluntarily. 
A lawsuit for partition is brought in "chancery" court--a part or division of county court. Such an action is considerably more complex than, say, bringing a small claims case; you are therefore strongly encouraged to retain a real estate attorney to help you.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The only way to force her to sell would be to bring a legal action (lawsuit) for "partition": that is, for a court order requiring that the property be sold and the proceeds (after paying costs of sale and paying off any mortgages and liens) split between the owners. That is the law's remedy for when the two (or more) owners of property cannot agree as to what to do with it. The lawsuit can be voluntarily resolved by her catching up on payments and refinancing within an agreed-upon time, so a sale and division (of the proceeds) is not the only possible outcome, but "partitition" remains the remedy if you and she cannot, even after the lawsuit is filed, work matters out voluntarily. 
A lawsuit for partition is brought in "chancery" court--a part or division of county court. Such an action is considerably more complex than, say, bringing a small claims case; you are therefore strongly encouraged to retain a real estate attorney to help you.


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