Forcing the Sale of a Jointly Owned Home

anyone have any real experience with a party forcing the sale of a piece of real estate? A single family home is owned by a man and his ex MIL and FIL. Property is written as 50% to him and 50% to them on title/ deed and on mortgage.

I am trying to hear from real experience as to how long it can take to actually get the property up for sale and sold. daughter and grandchildren live in the house. Daughter has no legal or financial attachment to house title or mortgage. Verbal agreement was made to sell house jointly in late spring so that eldest child would not be disrupted from his senior year of high school. When verbal agreement was put into legal terms this week, ex Son in law changed his mind and says he's putting house up for sale "tommorow" instead.

The MIL/FIL have an attorney but they aren't comfortable with him now that it's turned to more than just filing a document so they will be searching for a new one this week. But when the question was posed to the current attorney, the answer was " can take a long time" so we wanted to see if anyone had any experience that could put timeline and process details together for us.


Yes, direct experience. All owners have to agree, first of all to listing, and ultimately to the terms of the sale. If a realtor does not have the signature of all owners, they may not list the property. We never did manage to sell (after 2 years) because the other party turned down offers we would have accepted. In the end, we managed to buy him out when his money ran out. Get a good attorney, and good luck!!


Whose daughter?

Party that wants to keep the house could get a mortgage for the 9 month's duration.

In absence of that, I suspect there would be two court cases. One, to force the party that wants to stay to either buy the other party's share or agree to sell. That would probably take two or three months for adjudication. I don't know how backed up the courts are.


The second case would be for eviction of the residents. That also would take two or three months.. at least one month for tenant court hearing and a second month for the thirty - forty five days for the sheriff to evict. After that, the person winning the eviction has to store the abandoned property for at least 30 more days.



the 1/2 owners are the parents of the daughter. So, say exSIL is Joe, he was married to daughter Jill. He owns 1/2. The parents of Jill, Jan and Jim, own other 1/2. Jill and the 3 children live in the home. Jan and Jim want this to take as longggggggg as possible.


Both sides will end up spending a good percentage of the house's value on lawyers, which is sometimes motivating.


He can't put it on the market without the other owner's consent. Besides, how would potential buyers get into the house to look at it? Current residents won't allow it.


yup, on lawyers. the parents have the upper hand there- they have a legal program through work that makes it very, very cost-effective to engage a long-term lawyer.

I think he 1) doesn't really understand how this works and/or 2) is just trying to intimidate to get what he wants. He wants out so he, his new wife and baby can buy a house to live in.

I understand he can't actually put the house up for sale without their consent and that it will have to go through a legal process. My question is- how long does it take? this could actually be more attractive to one party than agreeing to sell in April (original deal). Keeping the family in the home longer would be a perfectly acceptable outcome with the added bonus of screwing it to the guy who thinks he's being clever.


Wow. What company is this that underwrites the legal costs of private civil disputes?


? Not sure I understand the question about "underwrites"? It's a legal co-op kind of coverage that you can buy into and it offers some sort of unlimited legal services or deeply discounted legal services for the year. I think through their union. Something like that. It's not free but it's fairly "cheap"- meaning they won't rack up $10s of $1000s of $ like ex SIL would.


not personal, but have heard of these things being dragged out for years if one never wants to sell. maybe ex SIL would be more agreeable if he is offered something for his patience....such as a higher percent of the profit or 'rent' from now through June.
But realize, if the current occupants have a written lease, even if the house is sold, they get to stay through the end of the lease. But, I am guessing that is not an option at this point. Even if it is sold I think they get 60 days to move. So at this point, even listing it about March 1, they could be in the house through June....even if listed now, MIL/FIL could just turn down offers.

www.lsnjlaw.org/Publications/Pages/Manuals/TenantsRights.pdf

if one owner authorizes a realtor to show the house, all they have to do is give tenants notice that they will be entering, and legally tenant can't refuse...or they risk eviction


There's no rent. The ex wife pays the mortgage through her own salary, her parents gifts and the money she gets in child support. All he pays is the standard child support he'd pay for 3 kids regardless of where she lived. He doesn't understand how that works either. He thinks he will owe her less money when the house is sold. By state law, he will owe her exactly the same amount. But he will be free from the mortgage and presumably able to get one for his new home. That's the desire, I think. Or maybe he truly believes he "pays the mortgage" and not child support. He's kind of an idiot.



jmitw said:

if one owner authorizes a realtor to show the house, all they have to do is give tenants notice that they will be entering, and legally tenant can't refuse...or they risk eviction

The house cannot be listed and shown unless the realtor has the signatures of ALL owners. I know because my husband and I co-owned a property with a couple who got divorced, and we had to have everyone sign.


No advice, just sympathy for the kids who are involved. Proves once and for all that the guy is a $######. Poor kids will need a lot of therapy and love--they are fortunate to have you and your parents on their side. Is the wedding still on? At this point, I don't think it would be a good experience for any of the kids. Really sad...


Holy crap. The ex-wife has no legal attachment to the mortgage but she's making the monthly payment? Whose name is on the mortgage? Does the mortgage holder have a legal agreement that says the ex-wife pays the mortgage? If not, what's forcing her to make the payments? She could stop making payments and turn this into a bigger mess.

conandrob240 said:

There's no rent. The ex wife pays the mortgage through her own salary, her parents gifts and the money she gets in child support. All he pays is the standard child support he'd pay for 3 kids regardless of where she lived. He doesn't understand how that works either. He thinks he will owe her less money when the house is sold. By state law, he will owe her exactly the same amount. But he will be free from the mortgage and presumably able to get one for his new home. That's the desire, I think. Or maybe he truly believes he "pays the mortgage" and not child support. He's kind of an idiot.



From personal experience, I co-owned my father's house with my sister (left to us in his will). At the time we both wanted to sell it but the market was bad, so we agreed she would live in it and pay all the costs until the market got better. When the market got better, I approached her about selling the house and she refused. I had to hire a lawyer to send a letter telling her to give me 1/2 the appraised value of the house or agree to sell it and split the proceeds. She again refused, sending him a 5 page letter full of vitriol. Then we sent a letter of intent to sue, and copied my aunt who was the executor of my father's estate. A check arrived from my aunt for 1/2 the appraised value. My case took about 2 weeks from start to finish. It all depends on the family dynamic. I wish them all luck, as it's a very stressful situation to be in



I have also seen home ownership between siblings go very wrong. I can't imagine what it's like between former in-laws after a divorce.


I've been involved in cases involving the attempted forced sale of jointly owned homes by creditors, where one or more, but not all, of the owners are debtors. This does not sound like that. I don't believe a joint owner can sell anything more than his or her ownership interest. How is he forcing the sale of the MIL/FIL's interest?


PS: There is a legal process known as partition but that involves going to court and having a judge bless and order the sale of joint property. But he can't just take it upon himself to sell his and the other owners' interests.


I understand he can't do what he says he's going to do. We all understand that. The best he can do is start proceedings to force a sale. At some point, after much back and forth, a court will eventually rule it has to be sold. My guess is that could turn into a MUCH longer road than the 6-8 months agreement in place right now where house goes up for sale in April. Basically, He's trying to be a prick and I am thinking the parents should just take the agreement off the table and tell him to please proceed with the legal road of forced sale. He has much, much more to lose.

As for the mortgage, it's jointly held between him and ex- parents in law. It gets paid every month by ex- wife using her child support payments, her own income and donations from her parents to cover the difference (the same as any rent would get paid anywhere she lived). Simply stopping paying the mortgage is another consideration- it would have little impact on the parents- they are in retirement and have few other assets. It would have a huge impact on ex- husband as I assume he'd be unable to secure another mortgage and his credit would be ruined.



janea said:



jmitw said:

if one owner authorizes a realtor to show the house, all they have to do is give tenants notice that they will be entering, and legally tenant can't refuse...or they risk eviction

The house cannot be listed and shown unless the realtor has the signatures of ALL owners. I know because my husband and I co-owned a property with a couple who got divorced, and we had to have everyone sign.

this was in reference to a comment about the tenant not allowing people to enter...i would assume after the parties agrees to sell or there is a court order forcing it.

also, it doesn't matter if they don't pay at all to live there, pay rent to the owners, or just pay the mortgage directly. They have legal tenants rights.

with them just paying the mortgage, if they could pay an extra $1000/rent for November-June directly to the one that wants the sale now, maybe he would be more agreeable to wait a few months to list it. If no one has the cash, once the sale closes, he gets $1000 extra from the profits.



yahooyahoo said:

Holy crap. The ex-wife has no legal attachment to the mortgage but she's making the monthly payment? Whose name is on the mortgage? Does the mortgage holder have a legal agreement that says the ex-wife pays the mortgage? If not, what's forcing her to make the payments? She could stop making payments and turn this into a bigger mess.
conandrob240 said:

There's no rent. The ex wife pays the mortgage through her own salary, her parents gifts and the money she gets in child support. All he pays is the standard child support he'd pay for 3 kids regardless of where she lived. He doesn't understand how that works either. He thinks he will owe her less money when the house is sold. By state law, he will owe her exactly the same amount. But he will be free from the mortgage and presumably able to get one for his new home. That's the desire, I think. Or maybe he truly believes he "pays the mortgage" and not child support. He's kind of an idiot.

If she stops payments, it might be possible for the landlords to evict her. I am guessing mortgage is a fair amount or rent.


I would like to say this man wouldn't try to evict his children but I now wouldn't put it past him. I am glad to know there would be a legal and lengthy battle for this to happen.


We are talking about a 4-5 month delay here...this is really petty that the one party wants to force this 4-5 months earlier.


How about giving the tenants a written lease through June 30, but putting it up for sale. That way they can start getting potential buyers...but the lease would be valid through June


there is only one person with urgency. One party doesn't want to start getting potential buyers. They agreed to a plan to protect the oldest child from having his senior year disrupted. That was the plan. They ex- husband wants to change that because he now has a baby due in February. So he is trying to bully the ex-parents-in-law ( and also being verbally abusive to them in the process). Threatening with this "forced sale" nonsense. I say give him what he wants- a forced sale and let it drag on for two years. Ideally, the super- sensitive middle child could finish her final year in her elementary school so a 2 year delay would make most of the interested parties much happier.


they can't write up a lease without both owners co- signing it right? That was our understanding from the lawyer. That's why there is no formal lease.


the other amusing part about this is that there really isn't much value in the house. It's worth, at best, $60k above what's owed on the mortgage and that would be if it were in very good condition (it's not). There's going to be a significant amount of work needed and permits needed to bring it to code to sell it, then closing costs, legal and realtor fees. They'll be lucky if they each walk away with $5 or 10k. He must have some mistaken idea of the value. Again, he's an idiot. It'll be fun to see the look on his face after dragging it out for potentially 2 years and hi getting his "cut" of $1000


a forced partition sale will bring in even less dollars. it brings out the bottom feeders just like foreclosure. another reason for a negotiated solution.


dave said:

Wow. What company is this that underwrites the legal costs of private civil disputes?

It's called a prepaid legal plan, and a lot of companies have it. It's for routine things like real estate transactions, wills, basic legal advice, etc. Usually not for big things like medical malpractice, product liability, etc.


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