When you and your former spouse divorced, you chose to keep a vacation house in the Blue Ridge Mountains that you rent out on Airbnb. Perhaps you have an investment property that the same tenants have rented for years. The mortgage is paid off, but you’re both still on the title. Therefore, you both own it.
Now you’ve decided that you no longer want to deal with it. You would rather sell it and put the money toward other things. However, your ex doesn’t want to sell.
If you and your ex can’t reach an agreement on your own, your only choice may be to file what’s called a partition lawsuit. This puts the matter in the hands of a judge. They will look at how the property was purchased, including who made the down payment. The judge will also look at who paid the mortgage, if there was one, and who’s been covering the taxes and maintenance expenses. They’ll also consider how the property has been used.
Then, the judge will determine the fairest way to split it. Usually, this will involve selling the house and dividing the proceeds. The judge may give one party the option to buy out the other. Since the ultimate result will likely be the sale of the property, it may be best for your ex (or you, if you’re the one being asked to sell the house) to agree to it and save the expense, time and stress of going to court.
Before you go through this, review your divorce papers. In some divorces, one spouse will “deed” a property to the other, but not actually sign the deed to transfer the property. If that’s the case, ask your spouse to sign it.
If they won’t, you may need to reopen your divorce. That involves holding your former spouse in contempt and requesting that the judge enforce this provision. That’s not generally an inexpensive or pleasant option either, but if the property wasn’t fully dealt with in the divorce, it may be necessary.
Whether you’re dealing with a scenario where you and your ex can’t agree on the sale of a jointly owned property or you’re still in the process of divorcing and deciding what to do with one or more homes, it’s always wise to seek the advice of a Tennessee real estate attorney who can work with your divorce attorney.