What are a spouse’s rights regarding the sale of jointly owned property?

UPDATED: Nov 3, 2010

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What are a spouse’s rights regarding the sale of jointly owned property?

My husband and I are about to divorce. He has all the money but doesn’t want to pay the bond so the house is up for auction. We have joined ownership. I am unemployed and disabled. My friend wants to buy the house so that I have a place to stay but my husband doesn’t want to take up the offer. He wants to sell to his friend that has made a higher offer. Can I legally force him to except my friend’s offer so that I can have a place to live? The house will be put on public auction soon so he is forcing me to except the higher offer although my friend’s offer will be high enough to repay the bond in full.

Asked on November 3, 2010 under Family Law, New York


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

I am sorry for your troubles.  May I strongly suggest that you go and get help as soon as you can on this matter.  If you are disabled then you have rights beyond your husband and you can probably get some free legal help.  I am confused by your saying "bond."  Do you mean the mortgage?  And when you say "auction" do you mean foreclosure?  You and your husband have equal rights in the house as joint owners. You can not really force him to sell to your friend.  But you can force him to sell if there was an offer to take you out of this mess and he refused to sign.  There is a difference although it may be hard to see that.  Whatever you decide to do it is really best that you act and do something to save the house from foreclosure and to move on.  You have the right to "redeem" the property before the foreclosure takes place.  You would have to pay the fees already charged.  Maybe you and your friend can work out a deal.  Seek legal help with that.  Good luck. 

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