Possible partition suit

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Possible partition suit

My brother and his girlfriend bought a house together about 7 years ago. Her name is on the title but they split up approximately 3 months after they purchased the home. She has contributed 0 in mortgage payments, home repairs, or anything else relating to the property and refused my brother’s attempts to take her off the title before going silent and ignoring my brother for several years. Now out of the blue, she has contacted his claiming that she is entitled to half of the equity in the home. Does she have a leg to stand on?

Asked on August 11, 2017 under Real Estate Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The outcome of a partition action is the court-ordered and court-supervised sale of the home. The default or baseline assumption is that the owners will split the proceeds (after first paying the costs of sale and paying off any mortgages or liens) in proportion to their ownership: two equal co-owners would get 50% each. But it is possible to in partition lawsuit show that one owner paid a significantly larger share of the expenses and therefore deserves a larger share of the equity; the court is not required to grant him or her more equity, but has the authority to do if it is convinced that it would be fair and appropriate.

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