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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 19686
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. experience with Real Estate
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My girlfriend recently left me and I continue to reside in

Customer Question

My girlfriend recently left me and I continue to reside in the house we bought 7.5 yrs ago in California. Title solely in my name, but we have an agreement that she gets 50% of sale proceeds. I pay 100% of the mortgage. Am I under ANY legal obligation to get her cash by either selling the house within a certain timeframe, or buying her portion of the equity?
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Real Estate Law
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 3 months ago.


Thank you for the information and your question. Can you tell me in what form this agreement you reference to split the proceeds of a sale is in? In other words, is it in writing and signed by you? Does it specifically say "sale proceeds?"

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
It's a signed and notarized letter titled "Receipt and Acknowledgement of Trust", confirming her $5k contribution to the downpayment to the family residence at [address], "which we are acquiring as equal partners as tenants in common, although the legal title will be held by David Bean as his sole and separate property." Then additional language asserting the possibility of further cash contributions from her and detailing dispute resolution.
Customer: replied 3 months ago.
BTW, that's the only language directly addressing ownership. I currently pay the entire mortgage, taxes and fees.
Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 3 months ago.

Thank you for your reply. The document and language is unusual, so ultimately, if there is a dispute a court will have to interpret it based on the Statute of Frauds and evidence from both sides as to the formation, etc., of this agreement. So, no real way to say whether it is even enforceable, but it certainly, at least based on what you shared, does not place any time limits on any payment of funds to the other party.

That said, the statute of referred to above, is a common law theory of law, which has been codified under California law at CA Civil Code section 1624, that requires that contracts and agreements, title, etc., in land must be reduced to writing. This is a writing, however, because the deed is in your name only, any document that diverges from that actual deed as to title, is not likely enforceable. In other words, the part of the agreement that says you own as tenants in common, will not likely be enforceable since that is not what the actual ownership official document says. But again, a court would have to make that decision after a lot of briefing by opposing attorneys.

All that said, she can always try to file a quiet title action and ask for a forced partition requiring you to sell or pay her part of the value of the property. I think it is doubtful that this would be successful, but it could cost considerable legal fees to sort out. Therefore, if you can reach an agreement now, in order to avoid all of this litigation over the agreement and the split of money, you might be better off in the long run.

Please feel free to ask for clarification if needed. If none is needed, then if you could take a moment to leave a positive rating in the box above, I will receive credit for assisting you today. Thank you

Expert:  Marsha411JD replied 3 months ago.

Hello again,

I wanted to touch base with you and make sure that you did not have any follow up questions for me from the answer I provided to you on the 18th. For some reason, the Experts are not always getting replies, or ratings (at the top of the question/answer page you are viewing or in the pop up box for this question), which is how we get credit (paid by the Site) for our work, that the customer thinks have gone through. In your case I received neither.

Please keep in mind that I cannot control the law or your circumstances, and am ethically bound to provide you with accurate information based on the facts you give me even if the news is not good. If you are having technical difficulties with reading, replying or rating,please let me know so that I can inform the Site administrator.Please note that Site use works best while using a computer and using either Google Chrome or Firefox.

In any event, it was a pleasure assisting you and I would be glad to attempt to assist you further on this issue, or a new legal issue,if needed. You can bookmark my page at:

Thank you.

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