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Hello, I would like to layout the entire situation to get better advise on what our best course of action should be.My dad bought a house with his brother in 1985 both of their names are ***** ***** deed and the deed is silent as to tenancy. My dad and my uncle were both married at the time the house was purchased. My dad tried to purchase the home alone but needed my uncle to co-sign on the loan to get approved. My uncle never helped with any payments, bills, repairs or anything regarding the house. He did live at the residence in the basement for 2 years when his wife at the time kicked him out of their house, this was in the early 90s. However, he never contributed anything during the time he resided at the house. He was an alcoholic for all of his adult life and lived with various people through out his life after his separation from his wife. The intent was to eventually refinance and remove my uncle from the deed. Some years later my dad and uncle went to a lawyer in an attempt to get my uncles name removed from the mortgage. My dad said the lawyer would charge $300 and that he paid $100 and was supposed to come back to get the process done but he and my uncle never went back. He can't remember who the lawyer was now since this was over 20 years ago. My dad is now age 65. My uncle and his wife lived in NY and later divorced and the house he and his wife owned was sold and my uncle had child NY support arrears due to his wife, and his arrears was taken out of his proceeds of the house sale. At the time of the divorce my uncle was unemployed and since the sale of the house netted him a lump sum of money he never worked again till the time of his death in 2000. Before he died in 2000 my father attempted to get siding on the house done and got a contractor. When the contractor ran his credit he notified my father that their was a lien on his house for child support. When my dad researched he found out that my uncle never paid the court ordered child support as stipulated in his divorce decree and the amount owed was now in th 10s of thousands. My uncle had no intentions of ever paying the money and my father had no way of forcing him to pay. Plus my uncle was unemployed. My uncle died in 2000 and the child support was about $30k in arrears at the time of his death. Once my uncle died my dad felt there was nothing he could do. Now my dad is older and the house is paid for and it is in dire need of repairs but with the lean he has no way of taking equity out to do anything. And the other thing is that my uncles name is ***** ***** the deed to the house and the deed is silent regarding tenancy. My uncles heirs are his 38 year old son and his 2 children since my uncle was divorced at the time of his death. We are wondering based on the entirety of the situation what is the best course of action. The child support was ordered in NY since that is where they lived but my dads house is in NJ so not sure if NY or NJ child support laws rule. So there are two factors working against my dad. The lien as well as the deed that is still in my uncles name. After some research I found the old mortgage loan application, the mortgage paperwork as well as the deed. The mortgage loan application has a line asking "manner in which title will be held", the response in this box is jointly. However the deed is silent and never reflected this. Also the loan application has both my dads and uncles information regarding pay and work information and assets but the two page document is not signed at the end so not sure if this would hold up in court.The question is what is the best course of action to handle both of these two issues? I was originally thinking yesterday that the quite title lawsuit with a claim to the error of the deed not being listed as joint tenancy, but not sure this is the best course of action since the loan application is not signed by my dad and uncle. The 4 page mortgage document is signed by them both, but it is silent regarding deed designation along with the deed itself.I think maybe a quite title lawsuit with the claim that the intent of both parties was for my uncle to be a co-borrower only, to get the loan approved. And that the loan was to eventually be refinanced, but this became impossible once the child support lien was put on the house. I tried to get my father to remember the lawyer, so we could possibly go back to him to get proof but that was a dead end, since he has no memory of the lawyer name or info he and my uncle visited to get the deed changed. Plus i am worried since my uncle is deceased that it will be hard to prove what we may need to prove to win the case.
To our knowledge my uncles son is not even aware of the possible stake in the house and we are unsure if he will even protest the deed. However, his mom is scorn and she has refused to drop the child support lien in the past. Help Please.
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Answered in 8 hours by:
3/28/2018
N Cal Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9,655
Experience: Since 1983
Verified

I am sorry to hear this.

Your father might want to file an action for reformation of the deed to show that it was joint tenancy with right of survivorship. If that succeeds, it wipes out any claim of the Uncle's heirs and may wipe out or reduce the lien claim. The fact that the house was not part of your Uncle's divorce decree is evidence that his interest in the house was separate property not subject to the jurisdiction of the divorce court to divide assets.

You need to consult a local attorney about how to approach this and how to locate any witnesses who were told by your Uncle that he owned the house in joint tenancy.

You can get a free consultation from some of the NJ real estate attorneys listed by location here.

I hope this information is helpful.

N Cal Attorney
Category: Real Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 9,655
Experience: Since 1983
Verified
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