If my soon-to-be ex boyfriend and I own a home together, how do I get out of it?

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If my soon-to-be ex boyfriend and I own a home together, how do I get out of it?

My home is in both of our names. I want to get out of the mortgage. I want to sell the house but he doesn’t. He does not have good credit and would not be able to refinance in his name. I do, but he is not willing to let me have the house. We recently refinanced and he put down a large amount of money so we could do that. I do not have the money to pay him back what he put into it.

Asked on October 28, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Since you doesn't have good credit his refinancing is out of the question.  Possibly, you could try a "novation". What this would entail is asking your lender to remove your name from the mortgage.  As a practical matter this isn't typically allowed but you could try. A novation could be accomplished by your ex-boyfriend paying the mortgage for a period of time genrally (8-12 months), then if he is current, had no late payments, and can prove that he was the only one paying the mortgage, your lender may allow you to remove your name.  Also, you may be able to obtain a novation if your ex-partner "buys" your release by making a substantial payment to reduce the mortgage balance.  Obviously this would all require your ex's cooperation.

If that doesn't seem to be an option, you can go to court and file for a "partition" action. In cases where co-owners cannot agree on the whether or not to sell a jointly owned piece of real estate, the party seeking the sale can go to court and have the land divided or sold. Since this is a single family residence and cannot be divided, a “partition by sale” can be ordered by the court. Once the property is sold, the proceeds are equitably distributed to the owners.  Additionally, before a sale would be ordered, the court would permit the non-filing co-owner (ie your ex) to purchase the your interest for fair market value.


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