If the house was not in my mother and father’s divorce decree, can he take the house from us and what measures should we take to protect ourselves?

UPDATED: May 23, 2012

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If the house was not in my mother and father’s divorce decree, can he take the house from us and what measures should we take to protect ourselves?

My mother and father got divorced but never put the house or any of the property into the divorce decree. My father has told myself, and many other people in our family, that he would leave the home and all of its contents to my mother since she is disabled and cannot work.

Asked on May 23, 2012 under Family Law, Louisiana


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You need to consult with an attorney in your area on the matter as soon as you can.  Your parents probably held the proeprty as a married couple with rights of survivorship.  Once divorced that changed to joint tenants or tenants in common in that there are no survivorship rights automatically any more.  But he still owns half. The other half goes to your Mom's descendents: you and the siblings. Could he take the house?  Not all of it but he can bring an action to partition which would result in a sale if you could not buy him out. There would be a set off against him as to the amount you have paid for upkeep, maintenance and mortgage payments since the divorce. You should eiuther have him sign over his rights now by deed and affidavit or he needs a Will leaving it to your Mom (I prefer the signing over).  Good luck.

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