If my brother-in-law’s wife left him for another man, could she force him to sell their townhouse?

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If my brother-in-law’s wife left him for another man, could she force him to sell their townhouse?

It’s in his name; no children.

Asked on February 19, 2011 under Family Law, Minnesota

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for his situation.  What will need to be established first is that the town house is marital property for distribution in the divorce.  You refer to it as "their" town house.  Was it purchased with marital funds during their marriage or was it his prior to the marriage?  If it is considered his separate property then some states will say that it is his only and not for division.  Some states will allow an increase in value to be assessed as marital property and the remainder is his.  But if it is marital property then she can force the sale by bringing an action for partition to ask the court to split the asset in half.  Court's then generally order the asset sold because you really can not split real property.  But always remember that they can negotiate her release of any rights to the town hose by allocating another asset to her or buying her out.  He needs to see a lawyer. Good luck.


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