I currently own property with my ex-wife, can i force a sale of the property if she is unwilling to sell?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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I currently own property with my ex-wife, can i force a sale of the property if she is unwilling to sell?

My ex wife and I have jointly owed this property for 19 yrs. I am currently remarried to another person. The property located in Virginia is currently being rented add it is producing positive cash-flow which the profits are paying towards a state real estate tax arrearages agreement. I have managed the property’s rental for 6 years. The current renters lease clearly states all rental payments were to be paid to me and they have done so for the last almost 4 years. However, last month the payment was sent directly to my ex-wife and the tenant is not communicating with me at all. I have sent them a Non-Compliance letter via certified mail. My ex is not communicating either. I have sent her an email letting her know that her interference has placed the tenant in a beach of lease situation. At this point, I am high suspicious of their intent and am concerned they are in collusion. I am also concerned they will try to sell the property without my approval Can they do this?. Can I force the sale of the property so that I can move on with my life?. Thank you so much

Asked on July 28, 2016 under Real Estate Law, Virginia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

If your divorce settelement, decree or order address the property, then you have to comply with what it says about the property's use, disposition, etc., though if your ex-wife is not complying with the decree, settlement, or order, you can bring a legal action in family court to enforce its terms.
If the divorce did not address this property, you can instead bring an action "for partition" in chancery court (a part or division of county court). The court has the power to order the sale of real estate when the owners disagree as to what to do it; the proceeds of the sale will be distributed among the owners. This type of action is complex; you are strongly encouraged to retain an attorney to help you.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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