Bought house in 1996 w/ husband as tenants in the entirety. Became estranged 1999. olegal separation or divorce. Did He have right to sell 50% to corp

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Bought house in 1996 w/ husband as tenants in the entirety. Became estranged 1999. olegal separation or divorce. Did He have right to sell 50% to corp

Do I have grounds for lawsuit against him and other parties involved. He lived in Florida at time. Property and marriage all in New york

Asked on June 4, 2009 under Real Estate Law, New York

Answers:

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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Under New York state law your husband cannot do this. Tenants by the The entirety is the strongest real estate bond that you can have and can only be broken by agreement or by a court order such as a Divorce Decree. Since you are tenants by the entirety both signatures are needed to transfer the property.  In a divorce proceeding you can sue your husband for the value of the half of the share that he sold. You can also sue the corporation in civil court to have the deed transfer deemed null and void. It is a pretty simple application since all you have to show its that you were legally married with no decree and no consent to transfer the property. I would not wait too long though because if the corporation then transfers its interest it may be harder to deal with

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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Whether your husband had the right to sell his interest at all might be an interesting question, and I'm not a New York lawyer;  this is a point on which some states might differ, although usually a person can do this.

However, once he did it, if it's valid, he destroyed the tenancy by entireties, and you are now a tenant in common with whoever, or whatever business entity, bought your husband's half.  This difference is important, because now, entirely apart from a divorce, you can file a lawsuit for what is called, in most states, partition, which will force a sale of the property.

I'd strongy urge you to have a New York attorney consider all the facts of your case;  if possible, you should do this in a way that avoids letting your husband get half of what you get for your half of that house, in a divorce.  One place to find a qualified lawyer is our website, http://attorneypages.com


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