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TexLaw, Attorney
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Lead trial/International commercial attorney licensed 11 yrs
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If I were to buy a house under these circumstances, is there

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If I were to buy a house under these circumstances, is there a risk that the house could be legally repossessed (complicated situation regarding divorce & real estate law)?

In 2008, my parents began the divorce process in Pennsylvania after 2 years of separation. The divorce was extremely lengthy and costly, even though there was very little marital property involved. The case is technically still active because the divorce decree itself was appealed to higher courts. I have sided with my father, and I have had a hostile relationship with my mother since the separation took place in 2006. My father left the area a while ago permanently and has to intention of paying a single penny of the divorce settlement that the lower court ordered him to pay. The house that my parents purchased has two home equity loans on it, which were recently defaulted on. The foreclosure process will start any time now. The combined amount of the two home equity loans exceeds the market value of the house by a large margin. There are no concrete assets left that my mother can try to claim in court, since the house is already mortgaged off and the car was taken away. It is only a matter of time before my mother and her attorney realize the move that was made against them.

This is where my question comes in. I am a recent college grad and I am thinking about purchasing a house in a neighboring state (about 90 minutes away from where I live now). Throughout the divorce, my mother had been hardcore about arguing over even the smallest assets. There was even an appraiser who came to our house to appraise some cheap furniture that did not exceed $400 in value. If I were to buy a house in a neighboring state, is it possible for my mother to try to repossess the house I will purchase? If so, is there anything I can do to prevent it from happening? Would moving a lot farther away reduce the likelihood of something like this happening (lets say 1000+ miles away)? If I stayed tried to stay under the radar by keeping my car registration and mailing address in PA, would it help at all? I need a detailed answer, since this is a really tough situation.

Thank you for your question.

Where do you intend on getting the money to purchase the house?

Are you over the age of 18?
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have a little bit of money saved up and I am going to take out a mortgage for it. It would be a smaller house, nothing extremely expensive.


Do you know a lot of college graduates under 18?

Not many, but you never know and its best not to make assumptions

However, what's relevant about that is that because you are no longer a minor, your assets are separate from your parent's assets. Your parents therefore have no interest or ownership claim to those assets.

Thus, if you purchase a house with your money through your credit, it is absolutely not relevant to your parent's divorce and will not be effected in any way by that divorce.

So, in answer to your question, there is no chance of the house being repossessed in connection with your parent's divorce proceedings under these circumstances.

Please let me know if you have any further questions. Please also kindly consider rating my answer positively so that I am compensated by the website for my work on your question. Rating positively does not cause an additional charge and does not prevent us from further discussing your questions.

Best Regards,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I understand, but my situation is such that my mother and her attorney would not know whether or not it's my money. The dynamic of the divorce and family situation is such that, if they found out I owned a house/was in the process of paying a mortgage on the house, they would suspect my father gave me money to pay for at least part of it. My concern is that there will be a case in court over this. What do you have to say regarding this?

If they bring a case against you based on no evidence, you can have the case dismissed through a Motion for Summary Judgment and may move the court to grant you sanctions for their frivolous lawsuit filing.

There is no way to prevent someone from filing a frivolous lawsuit. It is a right to do so. But if your mother does so with no evidence, then you will be able to quickly dismiss it and will also be able to get your attorney's fees reimbursed.
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Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Well what qualifies as evidence? If my mother simply states in court papers that I have been working with my father, would that qualify as evidence? I have already been at one of his court dates on his behalf (he was already out of the area by then), with his lawyer, so one of my mother's domestic relations petitions would not be granted. Or perhaps as grounds for getting a subpoena for all of my bank records and other personal information? I have already seen plenty of legal cases where oral statements with no concrete evidence to back them up are seen as "evidence". Pardon me if this seems paranoid, but the court system is a mine field that is far from fair. I'm just trying to predict the possible outcomes.