Question from Chuch, What can I do if my ex-partner refuses to pay the mortgage on a house we both own?
Answer from AI:
If you find yourself in a situation where you and your ex-partner jointly own a property, but your ex-partner is refusing to pay the mortgage and is intentionally allowing the property to deteriorate, you have several options. However, it’s important to understand that these are complex legal issues and you should consult with a legal professional for personalized advice.
1. Contact Your Lender
Even though you’re not on the mortgage, as a title holder, you have a vested interest in the property. You can contact the lender to discuss the situation. They may be able to provide some guidance or options, such as a loan modification or a short sale. However, the lender’s options may be limited if you’re not the borrower.
2. Legal Action
You may need to take legal action to protect your interest in the property. This could involve:
- Partition Action: This is a lawsuit that asks the court to divide the property or order its sale. If the court orders a sale, the proceeds would be divided between you and your ex-partner.
- Indemnification: If your ex-partner’s actions are causing you financial harm, you may be able to sue for damages.
3. Mediation or Arbitration
If your ex-partner is willing, you could try mediation or arbitration. These are less formal and potentially less expensive ways to resolve disputes. A neutral third party would help you reach an agreement.
4. Sell Your Interest
If none of the above options work, you could consider selling your interest in the property. This would remove your legal responsibility for the property, but it may not be easy to find a buyer given the circumstances.
It’s important to note that these are general guidelines and the best course of action may depend on your specific circumstances, including the laws in your state. For example, some states have laws that protect co-owners from actions that devalue the property. You should consult with a legal professional to understand your rights and options.
For more information, you can refer to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute’s overview of real property law and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s guide on what to do if you can’t pay your mortgage.