My ex and I divorced in 2009. I signed quit claim deed so he could buy me out. He did not. Can I make him sell or refinance to get my half?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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My ex and I divorced in 2009. I signed quit claim deed so he could buy me out. He did not. Can I make him sell or refinance to get my half?

I drew up the divorce papers myself and stated I get half when the house sells.
He planned on selling or refinancing so I had signed the quit claim deed. After a
few months he quit his job, so went to foreclosure. He ended up getting a
mortgage modification and getting caught up. So my name is not on the title, but
is still on the mortgage. It is 9 years later, and I want my half of the money,
but he cannot afford to refinance. Can I force him to refinance or sell the
house even though my name is not on the title? I will have to double check the
divorce papers to see how it is worded, but I believe it says that ‘when the
house sells I get have of the proceeds’.

Asked on March 16, 2018 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, in executing the quit claim deed and taking your name off the title, you gave up your ability to compel the sale of the property. An owner of real estate can bring a legal action (traditionally called an action "for partition") to get a court order requiring that the property be sold--but a if you are not on the title, you are not an owner (even though you are on the mortgage: being obligated for a loan does not make you an owner), and so do not have the legal right to do this.

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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