My wife and I own a house . I want to sell it upon my son’s H.S. graduation,she doesn’t. We’re still divorcing. Who decides when to sell?

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My wife and I own a house . I want to sell it upon my son’s H.S. graduation,she doesn’t. We’re still divorcing. Who decides when to sell?

I inherited this house from my parents. I mistakenly added her name to the deed 2 yrs before we started the separation. My daughter is 19 and my son is 17. It was in the separation agreement(which is yet to be signed) that we would sell the house upon our son’s graduation. Now she said she’s “not going any where.” Must I wait until SHE decides it is time for us to sell what was originally my father’s house.

Asked on June 2, 2009 under Family Law, New York

Answers:

S.J.H., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Normally in a situation like this the court will order the house sold upon your youngest child's 18 birthday or graduation from high school, whichever is later unless their is some extenuating circumstances which are rare or if you agree to a different period of time. The mere fact that she wants to stay is not enough. The court could give her the right to purchase your interest in the property but will not let her stay and dictate when the house will be sold. Unfortunately the fact that this house was inherited has little bearing except that the court could give you a separate property credit which would be a seprate amount towards the house off your wife's share.

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

You need to get a good lawyer working on your case.  One place to find qualified attorneys in your area is our website, http://attorneypages.com

An accurate opinion of your rights, and what your options are right now, depends on all the facts, and a more detailed review than can be done here.  Also, I'm not a New York lawyer, and each state's divorce laws are different.

I wouldn't think it's entirely up to your wife.  Even if the house has become marital property, if you can't reach agreement, the case will have to go to trial.  And unless there is enough other property to make a proper division of it all, fairly easily, with the house going to one of you or the other, the judge will order the house to be sold at the end of the case.  Your son might be halfway through college by then, but the sooner you start, the sooner you'll get there.


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