If I have a mortgage with an ex-girlfriend whose name is also on the mortgage, can she make me sell the house if I don’t want to?

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If I have a mortgage with an ex-girlfriend whose name is also on the mortgage, can she make me sell the house if I don’t want to?

Asked on April 21, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Iowa

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If your ex-girlfriend's name is only on the mortgage, then no she cannot force you to sell your house. However, if she is also on the title, then as a co-owner she can if fact force a sale. In a situation wherein joint owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters an action in "partiton" can be filed. This is a legal remedy in which a court will order the division of the property, if practical. If not, as in the case of a single family house, then it will order a "sale in lieu of partition". Once the sale is completed, the proceeds will then be equitably distributed. First, however, before the property is offerd to 3rd party buyers, any owner who wants to retain the property can buy out the other owner(s) for fair market value.


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