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TJ, Esq.
TJ, Esq., Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 11648
Experience:  JD, MBA
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I own a home with another person who is also on the deed. I

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I own a home with another person who is also on the deed. I cannot live with her any longer and want to move out. She will not sell the house (it's underwater anyway by 60K and there is a 50K judgment on us as well). What would happen if I just left and moved on with my life? Can she use this against me in the future, keep me out of my home if I need to move back for any reason? Should I put anything in writing before I go?
Hello and thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist you.

You certainly have the right to move out, and it does not affect your rights to use the house in the future. Nothing needs to be in writing as to that issue. If you want to get rid of the house, then you could give her a quit claim deed, which would terminate your ownership interest. Bear in mind that if you are on the mortgage, then you will remain legally liable for it even if you leave, and even if you were to give her a quit claim deed. So, even if you are not living there, and even if you gave her a quit claim deed such that you no longer own the house, the mortgage company could go after you for payment if she were to miss payments in the future.

Does that answer your question? Please let me know if you need clarification, as I am happy to continue helping you until you are satisfied. Also, your positive feedback is much appreciated.

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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Can she legally change the locks, charge me with abandonment
and can I still have access to the house without issue since I will no longer be paying anything towards it? Do I need to legally give her notice as to when I might want access to the house and would it be in my best interest to take everything of value with me when I leave initally? I understand about the quit claim deed, mortgage etc.

Hi again.

Let's back up a moment. Is the other owner of the house your wife? You didn't mention that earlier, so I assumed it was just a co-owner.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

She is purely a co-owner. No relationship or family ties.

Hi again.

Then I would say that she can lawfully change the locks, though you can require a key. You would still have a right to access the house. She cannot charge you with abandonment if you leave ... that concept just doesn't apply here. Yes, you would still have access to the house. But remember what I mentioned earlier that you would still be liable for the mortgage if you signed the mortgage. To be more clear: She could theoretically sue you for half of what she pays on the mortgage, or she may have an argument that your equity in the house should be reduced because of your refusal to contribute to the mortgage.

As for your personal possessions, I would take everything of value that you own just to avoid a fight at a later time. That seems prudent. However, anything you leave but still own would technically remain yours unless you indicate that you have abandoned such possessions.
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