What is my ex husband's legal claim on our jointly owned house? 7 Answers as of April 11, 2012

I have been divorced for 5 years and my ex-husband moved out about a year before our divorce. We are both still on a loan for a house that we have owned for 10 years. I have lived in the house and paid the mortgage on my own for the entire 5 years. I have done a lot of upgrades to the house as well. I am re-married and would like to short sale the house as we owe more than we can sell it for. My ex thinks he is still half owner in the house but has not paid more than the required child support since our divorce, nothing towards the 1st mortgage. I was owed spousal support of $200 a month, and instead of paying me directly he pays it directly to the 2nd mortgage. What are his legal rights to the house, do I own more of the home or have more legal right to the home than he does at this point?

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Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser
Warner Center Law Offices of Donald F. Conviser | Donald F. Conviser
I assume from your question that the divorce judgment left the house as community property of you and your former husband (but that would be highly unusual - if the house remained co-owned, it could and likely should have been converted to a tenancy in common through the Judgment). If the house is still community property, it is subject to your right to reimbursement of your principal paydown of the mortgage and improvements made since separation. Your reimbursement rights would be payable before division of any remaining equity. Since your house is upside down, there would appear to be nothing to reimburse and no community equity to divide. If the house were converted to a tenancy in common, the Judgment should have been specific regarding its use, payments and division. If it wasn't, a Judge will have to determine what to do with the house. You would best retain an experienced Family Law Attorney to represent you in your quest to get a short sale of the house.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/11/2012
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock
Law Offices of Arlene D. Kock | Arlene D. Kock
This complicated question deserves an answer from an experienced family law attorney in an office consultation. Your husband may be entitled to equity growth in the property less any improvements made by you. A review of your marital judgment would be required in your attorney meeting.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/10/2012
Peyton and Associates | Barbara Peyton
The house and the child support are separate issues particularly since the house is now upside down. If he is still on the loan and on title, you need him to sign any agreement to complete any kind of sale. If he won't sign you can file a motion with the court to get an order for a short sale and the Judge will have the court clerk sign any documents the "ex" won't sign. If there were equity in the house you might be entitled to more than your ex-husband. It would depend on the amount of the monthly mortgage balanced off against the reasonable rental value of the house over the last five years. If the house is upside down, I suggest you proceed to try for a short sale
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/10/2012
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law
Edwin Fahlen Attorney at Law | Edwin Fahlen
If both of you are on title you both still own the house, unless the house was award to one of you in the divorce. The fact that you make the payments does not effect the other owner's right to title to the property. If your Judgment is silent as to the house, the court will need to decide who get what, if anything from the house, unless the two of you can agree.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/10/2012
Law Offices of Frances Headley | Frances Headley
It depends on what your dissolution Judgment says about the house. You should consult a family law attorney to review all of your documents and circumstances to see how best to proceed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/10/2012
    Diefer Law Group, P.C.
    Diefer Law Group, P.C. | Abel Fernandez
    Well, this would depend on your judgment. If the judgment awarded you the home, then it is your home. If the judgment is silent, then I would say it really does not matter because the house is upside down so there is nothing to divide. If he does not want to sell, file a motion for the court to order the short sale or that he must refinance and put it solely in his name.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2012
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    It depends upon what the Judgment of Divorce says regarding the home. If the house was awarded to you, then it is your property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/10/2012
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