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David Kennett
David Kennett, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 27689
Experience:  25 years practicing attorney
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Bullhead City, Mohave County, AZ. Met a woman 2.5 yrs ago.

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Bullhead City, Mohave County, AZ. Met a woman 2.5 yrs ago. We had a relationship destined to be as domestic partners (like a marriage). I lived by myself. She lived in apartment with 1 yr lease exp. 28 Feb 2013. I stayed in her apartment mostly on weekends.

I bought a house as a single man in Sept 2012, $50,000 down, monthly mortgage. The house needed work which I have been doing since purchase. I lived in house with minimum comforts and furniture, therefore house stayed almost empty while I worked.

We shopped for the house together and shared plans for it just like we were a married couple. She stayed over in house 1 or 2 days per month to share in some work, but was there mostly in the daytime.

She moved out of her apartment and moved in to "our" house on February 1, 2013. Therefore nearly all furniture and other household stuff was hers. To show my love for her, we agreed to have the title modified to put her name on as Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship. That was finalized with title company and recorded in Mohave County on February 26, 2013.

We had a severe disagreement March 3rd and she moved out with all of her furniture and belongings on March 6, 2013. (Yes I know, it didn't last very long). She has ceased all communication since, except for a couple of extremely angry responses to some of my emails. My emails were asking her if she would sign legal documents to remove her name from title. She's made absolutely no comment in reference to house title issue. She has chosen to remain totally silent, unreachable and in hiding (I do know where she lives).

So now I'm a 'single man', but with her name on title. I paid a small consulting fee to a local attorney for advice. He said to mail her the documents by Certified Mail, Return Receipt Requested. I did that on May 2. On May 3 an attempt was made to deliver the mail, but supposedly no one was home and the carrier 'Left Notice'.

Finally, here's my question: If she refuses to sign, what legal action can I take to get a court order forcing her to remove her name.

For a second possible action I could take, I have written and verbal evidence (with witness) that she "assassinated my character" both by posting derogatory statements on internet social networks and by statements made to a witness in a public place and audible to the public. I guess I want to win one way or another in court with her punishment being to sign the documents removing her name from the title.
Dear JACUSTOMER - This is a difficult situation and I can only explain how the laws operate with respect to real estate titles between two unmarried persons. AZ does not recognize common law marriage so there was no legal relationship between the two of you. This is simply a case of two unrelated persons owning a joint interest in real estate. Had you never added her name to the title she would have no claim to anything but once her name was added by you then she attains the status of a joint tenant and she has equal ownership and has half interest in the property equity. I'm not certain what the balance of the mortgage may be or the market value of the property but whatever the value is above the mortgage she has a one half interest by virtue of your "gift" of title. The fact that you had a falling out in your relationship does not change the legal position she has by being on the title and you cannot force her to simply give back that interest. Legally it would be considered as a voluntary gift from you just as any other property. If she has made any false statements in public about you then you have a right to file a suit for slander or libel against her for any damages caused but it would not affect the deed to the real estate. Since the relationship between the two of you would not be recognized by the court there would be no basis for you to demand that she sign a quit claim deed releasing her interest in the property. You basically have two options with respect to the property. One is you can file a partition suit and have the court order a forced sale or two you can negotiate some amount of money to pay her for her interest in order to have her sign a deed. She has no obligation to respond to your requests to sign anything. If you file a suit for slander or libel then you might be able to use that as a bargaining chip to see if she would agree to sign the deed if you agree to drop the suit but other than that I see no legal way to force her to sign the deed. Please remember that I do not make the laws and I can only explain the way the laws are applied. The evidence of ownership of real estate is the deed and circumstances surrounding the gift of title are not important unless it could be shown that you were mentally incompetent when you signed the deed which I am certain was not the case.
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