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When did everyone stop paying on the property?
Do you know when ex made the last payment?
Was there something in the contract that gave you the right to terminate it if you couldn't get a mortgage?
Was the property transferred into your names or did it stay in the seller's name?
Ok, if the contract was for a year and then it was to be paid off or refinanced, then that is when the money would have been due to the seller.
So if that didn't happen, that is when any breach of contract would have occurred to start the statute of limitations running. If the contract was "under seal", which is a more formal way of executing a contract where it actually can have an embossed seal on it, then the SOL is 20 years, otherwise, it is only 3 years..
With all that said if ex can come up with some of the cancelled checks that were written, then the seller's claim that they never received a payment can be disputed and fought if you and ex wanted to countersue under a breach of contract claim..