Can a co-owner force the sale of jointly owned property?

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Can a co-owner force the sale of jointly owned property?

In my divorce it is stated that I have total use of the house for 10 years or until the house is paid off or both parties agree to sell. Also, it is stated that my ex pays half the mortgage for that time. I recently got a letter from my ex saying he is forcing the sale of my house. Can he do this?

Asked on June 17, 2018 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Typically, if a house is jointly or co-owned, one of the owners can force the sale of the property through a type of legal action traditionally called an action "for partition." However, that traditional right can be affected any agreements, contracts, settlements, or decrees between the parties. While no attorney can give a definitive answer without reviewing the decree itself, to see *exactly* what it states, based on what you write, it appears that he cannot force the sale of the house until the earlier of 10 years after the divorce or the mortgage being paid in full (though you and he could voluntarily agree to sell it sooner than that). After the first of those two events to occur, it appears he can force a sale.


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