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ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
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Experience:  Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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Topic is property rights of unmarried couples in Texas. A

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Topic is property rights of unmarried couples in Texas. A year ago I wished to purchase a house however because my name was on another mortgage with my ex-husband I could not qualify for a loan by myself. My boyfriend offered to help me with the purchase of the house. We have recently split up and he is now wanting 50% of the equity even though I have paid 75% of all house expenses including closing costs, mortgage payments, utilies, taxes, etc. In fact the only money he has spent is 30% of the closing costs and 22% of the mortgage payments. I have paid all taxes, insurance and utilities. He is claiming this is community property and wants 50% of the equity even though he hasn't contributed even close to that. Therefore I wish to buy him out for the exact percentage of the total costs of home ownership that he has contributed. What are my chances in a Texas courtroom?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Family Law
Expert:  ScottyMacEsq replied 1 year ago.

ScottyMacEsq :

Thank you for using JustAnswer. I am researching your issue and will respond shortly.

ScottyMacEsq :

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. First of all, if you're not married, and you don't qualify for a "common law marriage" (holding each other out as married, cohabitating, and a present agreement to be married) then you would be considered unmarried. Unmarried couples do NOT have community property rights, and each party would own the property in proportion to the value contributed to the acquisition of said property.

ScottyMacEsq :

That being said...

ScottyMacEsq :

There's no way that you could force him to sell you his share. He would still be a "co owner" of the property, and Texas law does not allow for the forced sale or transfer of one nonmarital co-owners interest in the property to the other. If you were married, the court could force this, but not if you're not married.

ScottyMacEsq :

Rather, the only way that you could force any sale would be through a "partition action".

ScottyMacEsq :

"Partition" is the legal term referring to division of real property among joint owners. It may be voluntary, by agreement or partition deed; or, if no agreement is reached, one or more joint owners may seek a court-ordered division by means of a partition suit. It is also possible to file a “friendly” partition action if the parties desire a court decree that ratifies their agreement. Note that partition is not the appropriate remedy when there is no common title or title is in dispute.
There are two kinds of judicially-ordered partition: partition in kind, which refers to the actual physical division of land by metes and bounds; and a judicially-ordered sale of the property, when partition in kind is not feasible or cannot be achieved fairly and equitably.
The right to a partition is absolute so long as the petitioning party is a joint owner of the land to be partitioned and has an equal right to possess it with the other joint owners, subject to any leases. There is no effective defense to such an action that is properly brought by someone who qualifies. Spires v. Hoover, 466 S.W. 2d 344, 346 (Tex.App. - El Paso 1971, writ ref’d n.r.e.). However, the right to partition may be waived or contracted away. The real fight in many partition cases is about the pro rata shares of the parties and whether or not the property should be partitioned in kind or sold.

ScottyMacEsq :

That being said, this is a very complicated area of law, and you need to contact an attorney in the area (of the land) that deals with real estate litigation cases. Go to www.lawyers.com or www.legalmatch.com to find an attorney in the area. You should be able to find one that will give you a free initial consultation and better advise you of your rights, any problems with your case, likelihood of success, how courts are treating cases such as yours in the area, and what you should do next.

ScottyMacEsq :

Now this is something you can threaten to your ex that wants 50%. The land would be sold at auction, most likely, which is almost certainly less than what you would get in a private sale. Costs in a partition action are paid by each party pro rata according to the value of that party’s partitioned share. However, the considerable expense and delay involved in meeting the procedural requirements of a partition suit are a powerful incentive for the parties to settle.

ScottyMacEsq :

So in short, while this is not community property (meaning that he doesn't have a claim to 50% of the property) he can still set any price that he wants for a buy-out, if he's on the title. Otherwise, to sell the property it would take a partition action.

ScottyMacEsq :

Hope that clears things up a bit. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable. Please note that I don't get any credit for my answer unless and until you rate it a 3, 4, 5 (good or better). Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX luck to you!

Customer:

Thank you so much! It gives me a lot more to go on than I had before.

ScottyMacEsq :

You're welcome, and again, good luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 12230
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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