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LADY LAWYER
LADY LAWYER, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Family Law Attorney
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My wifes parents bought a house for us about 8 yrs ago, because

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My wife's parents bought a house for us about 8 yrs ago, because both of us had bad credit. We make payments directly to the mortgage company we take care of all the insurance, taxes and all the repairs and upgrades, we deal directly with the insurance companies everything. Now we are getting a divorce and they are trying to evict from my home so that my soon to be ex wife can rent the home to her daughter and husband and move in with them so it looks like her mother evicted both of us. I am wondering if I have legal action against my wife and her mother regarding my investment in this house. I have also been the only one who has worked for the 8 yrs we have lived here, we have no children together, her children are grown and I still have a minor child that lives at home. Their is about $40,000 in equity in the house and at the least I feel I deserve half of the equity. I feel I was just played by her and her family as soon as her children are grown, which I was the only one who supported them financially for the past 8 yrs no help from either of their parents, now I am being told I need to leave and that I was only a renter and have no claim to anything. If I wouldn't have been told repeatedly that we were buying the home from her parents and that if anything ever happened and the house had to be sold that I would get half of the equity and that they wouldn't cheat me out of anything then I never would have put one dime of my money into fixing this house up. do I have any legal grounds to get my money back?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  LADY LAWYER replied 1 year ago.

LADY LAWYER : Hello, Thanks for choosing Justanswer.com! I look forward to helping you today. Please give me a moment to review your question and to answer you.
LADY LAWYER : Do you have any sort of written agreement with your wife's parents about you two paying the mortgage or your interest in the house? Are the parents the only ones listed on the deed?
Customer:

Her parents are the only ones listed on the deed. I do not have any written agreement with her parents except a rental agreement that I have never seen. But I spoke with her father numerous times when things were shaky in our marriage and he guaranteed me that I would get half of the equity in the home if it came to needing to sell the home...Like I said before I never would have put one dime of my own money into this house if I hadn't been made to believe all these years that we were buying the house from them...I have probably over $30,000 plus in repairs, upkeep and upgrades to this home over the past 8 yrs. Her parents have done nothing to this house since they purchased it for us 8 years ago, never put any money into the home for repairs or upkeep, nothing. We have handled everything, like I said we deal directly with the mortgage company, not her parents..

LADY LAWYER : Hi again,
LADY LAWYER : Thank you for the additional information. It may be a bit problematic if you have a rental agreement with them because a rental agreement by definition implies that you are simply a tenant and not renting to own. However, that can be overcome by their representations to you about the home. If they fraudulently induced you to believe that you had an actual interest in the home, whereby you put money into it for its upkeep, repairs and upgrades, and you were also dealing with the mortgage company directly, then you can overcome the presumption that you were just a renter and the court can give you an interest in the home.
LADY LAWYER : Unfortunately, you are going to have to sue them for this matter to be determined by a judge.
LADY LAWYER : The other, more pressing issue right now is your pending eviction. To deal with that, you really need to have a copy of your lease available.
LADY LAWYER : Did you sign this rental agreement at one point and then your inlaws just kept it?
Customer:

Is their something I can do to stop them from selling the home before judgment can be made...The reason I ask is I was just given a 30 day eviction notice for no other reason but me and their daughter are getting divorced...Even though this is our marital residence I am getting evicted so that my soon to be ex-wife's daughter and son in-law may move in and she can just stay here with them and try and fool the system.. I feel I have just as much right to be here as anyone and I still have minor children living in the house both of her children are adults now...

LADY LAWYER : The problem is that I do not know what the lease says and apparently, neither do you. This will determine their rights as "landlords" and your rights as a "tenant" under the law for at least the purposes of the eviction. Did you ever sign a lease?
Customer:

I don't remember ever signing a lease..

LADY LAWYER : Okay, but they are saying you did...or? I saw in your facts there was "a lease you have never seen".
Customer:

That is what I was told, that we only had a lease, but my wife keeps all of that stuff hidden from me so I cannot confirm what I am being told. If I signed a lease it was 8 years ago and I do not remember..

LADY LAWYER : Okay. Have you asked them for a copy of the lease via a certified letter? Otherwise, if one does not exist, what they are doing is saying that you are a tenant at will and they are giving you 30 days as per the law to move out.
Customer:

All I know is when the house was purchased I was told it was our house and we were buying it from her parents, we paid closing cost we paid inspection cost we paid everything, but the house is in her parents name because our credit was not good enough to get a loan...And no I haven't ask for a copy yet, I just received an email this morning with the eviction notice attached...

Customer:

I don't think that I did..But truthfully I don't remember.

LADY LAWYER : I see. First of all, if they are trying to evict you, they did not serve the notice correctly per OK law. So it is completely ineffective. You don't have to tell them that. They can just wait until day 31 and try to go file a lawsuit to evict you. Then you respond with a motion to dismiss based on the fact that the eviction notice was not served properly. The judge will throw out the case and then they will have to start the process all over again, trying to serve you properly, paying to refile the case if ou don't leave, etc. Here's the thing...you are going to want to send them a certified letter asking for a copy of the lease. They may or may not provide that to you. I would not leave your home. There is no self-help in OK which means it is illegal for them to do anything like lock you out. They HAVE to go through the court to try to get you out of the home if you don't leave willingly. You are probably going to want to see an attorney between now and when they think your 30 days are up. If and when they do go file, or maybe even before then, you are going to file your own lawsuit to determine you interest in the home.
LADY LAWYER : At the very least, the ongoing litigation will keep them from evicting you and your daughter as I am sure the judge will issue an injunction against that.
LADY LAWYER : So the key here is starting the ball rolling with a real estate litigation attorney who can help you with your interest in the home. This will serve to also prevent the eviction.
LADY LAWYER : It is also going to help you in your upcoming divorce as it will serve to determine your assets.
Customer:

Thank you for your advice, I am going today to speak with a divorce attorney and I will bring all of this up in our meeting ...Thank you again for your help.

LADY LAWYER : You are so welcome. The most important thing to remember is that you absolutely have rights here.
LADY LAWYER : If the divorce attorney is good, s/he may be able to take care of the house issue for you.
LADY LAWYER : May save you some money in the long run. Also, search around for multipurpose firms, that is, ones that might do real estate and family law.
LADY LAWYER : www.martindale.com is a good resource for that
Customer:

Thank you again.. its still going to be a battle but it is nice to here from someone else that I do have rights in this matter... And I have the firm I am going to today is a multipurpose firm...Thanks again and have a great day.

LADY LAWYER : And you as well! I strive for excellent service and I hope I provided that for you today; however, if you have any further questions, concerns, or need further clarification, please just reply to me here and I will get back to you just as soon as possible! There may be periods where I am helping other customers or may not be online but I will always get back to you within 24 hours. If you have no further questions at this time, would you kindly leave me a positive service rating before you go? Thank you so much!
LADY LAWYER, Family Law Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 6531
Experience: Family Law Attorney
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