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Richard, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 53705
Experience:  32 years of experience as lawyer in Texas. I'm also a Real Estate developer.
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I have a situation whereby two unmarried people are living

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I have a situation whereby two unmarried people are living together in a house that is titled in each of their names. They have been sharing expenses equally and now one of the individuals has decided not to contribute to the living expenses. What remedy is available to the other individual who is paying all the expenses?
Welcome! My goal is to do my very best to understand your situation and to provide a full and complete answer for you.

Good afternoon. First, with the benefits of ownership, so too come the burdens. The individual owner not paying their share can be sued for their share. Once the suit is filed and a judgment awarded, the paying owner becomes a judgment creditor, and if the losing party doesn’t then pay the judgment, the paying owner can have the sheriff serve a summons on the losing party for a debtor examination. That forces the losing party to meet the judgment creditor in court and answer questions under oath about the losing party's assets. After that information is obtained, the judgment creditor has the power to garnish wages, attach bank accounts, have the sheriff seize other personal property, and/or place liens on real property, including the co-owned property, to satisfy the judgment. Second, if you no longer want to own the property with this individual, and they won't agree to sell the property or purchase your interest, then you can file a suit for partition. The result of that suit will be one of the following: i) if the property can be equitably subdivided, the court will order the property divided into smaller parcels with each owner then owning 100% of their own smaller tract with full control over that tract; or ii) if the property cannot be equitably subdivided, the court will order the property sold and the proceeds divided. Since a house cannot be divided, the court will order the house sold. The reality is that in most cases, once the owners fighting the sale find out the certainty of the result of a suit for partition, that/those owner(s) typically agrees/agree to the sale without the suit to avoid the costs of the suit.

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