What are my rights to a house that my ex still lives in if I am still on the deed?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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What are my rights to a house that my ex still lives in if I am still on the deed?

My ex and I bought a house 7 years ago. He still lives in it; I moved out 2 years ago. We were never married but my name is still on the deed. Am I entitled to 1/2 or a portion because he still remains there and is paying the mortgage?

Asked on July 25, 2018 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

You are entitled to a portion of the value or equity of the home if and when it is sold. If a court were involved (such as if either you or him brought a legal action, traditionally called an action "for partition," to force the sale of house if you and he could not agree as to what to do with it), it is likely that the court would give him some credit for paying (if we read your question right) around 5 years of mortgage  and other costs which you have not--though that would be somewhat offset by the fact that in exchange for continuing to pay the mortgage and upkeep, he has had a home to live in. So a likely outcome would be that you are entitled to a bit less than half the equity, and him to something more than half, to reflect the fact that he has been making payments to maintain and preserve the place which you have not been making. It is hard to be precise, because this sort of valuation can be very subjective.  All that is clear is that, despite not living there, you are entitled to a share of the value and that the share would start at a 50-50 share before any adjustments made for him paying more of the mortgage than you.

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