Is there a way to get my sister off the mortgage that she co-signed?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is there a way to get my sister off the mortgage that she co-signed?

My sister purchased a home with her now ex-boyfriend; she co-signed on the home they were together. Now, because of him cheating on her several times and having his new girlfriend move in, she has moved out. However, he refuses to sign a release of co-signer on the home or even give the home up to her. He tells her that she is as responsible for the home as he is. Since he had made the choice of being unfaithful to her, is there a way to force him to take her off of the mortgage or will we have to take him to large claims court for it?

Asked on July 31, 2017 under Real Estate Law, Michigan


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to force him to remove her from the mortgage. However, she can force a sale. In a situation in which co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters, they can file an action for "partition". In such an action the court will order that the property be divided if feasible. However, in the case of a single family home, division would be impracticle so the court will order that it be sold. Before that, any owner(s) who wish to keep the house will first have the right to buy out the other owner(s) for fair market value. To do this, would most likely have to refinance the exisiting mortgage to come up with the money. So your sister would be released from her mortgage obigation. If her ex does not or can not refinance, then the propety will be offered or sale to the general public. 

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 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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