Sorry to hear of your domestic turmoil. Seventeen years is a small lifetime.
First and foremost, you do not have to sin anything that you do not want to. You are a 50% owner of the property. The source of the down payment does not deprive you of that ownership interest. It may come into play if a court case is filed, but until then, it is a matter of discussion and negotiation. It is not the end all.
If mom's down payment went into a joint bank account that you and your partner had, then there is a presumption of ift to both of you. Even if she made the check out directly to the closing agent, one could argue that it was a gift to the both of you.
Since there is no equity, there really isn't much to argue about, really, but you need a place to live. As does your soon-to-be-former-partner.
There is a type of law suit that is called partition. The Court can direct that the property be sold by the clerk of the court and the proceeds paid to the attorneys first for their fee, mortgage lien holder second, and then to the owners. It does not sound like there will be any to be paid to you and your partner, but the property will be out of both your names.
Although a partition may not result in your receiving money, it may help you to a certain extent. If you sin over the house, you will still be liable for the mortgage payments. Your credit may not be strong enough for you to qualify for a loan for your new home when you are still on the hook for payment on the current one.
So, you see, you have quite a bit of leverage here. You can not be evicted as you are the owner of the property. You can not be arrested for trespassing. You can not be forced to sin any papers at all. You can file a case for partition yourself, or wait for your partner to do so.
So, you see, you have plenty of choices in addition to singing.
Best of luck to you dealing not only with the emotional issues but financial ones.
I hope you found this response to be of assistance. This response shall not be considered the rendering of legal advise but instead a general response to a general question. While Avvo is a wonderful resource, nothing can be a substitute for an in-depth consultation with an attorney in the jurisdiction in which the law is to be applied. This response shall not be deemed to create an attorney-client relationship, nor shall it create an obligation on the part of the attorney to respond to further inquiry from the questioner.
I am sorry that you are going through this, if you are married then the local courts will use the divorce laws, if you are not married then you may have a contract claim or an equity claim, please sit down with a local FL attny and discuss your options. take care.
Legal disclaimer: The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Massachusetts. Responses are based solely on Massachusetts law unless stated otherwise.
As Mr. Lampert stated you are not required to sign anything until and unless a court orders you to do so. Based upon what you have stated in your question the Partition action will provide you with the greatest protection and closure with regard to this issue in in your life.
Daniel Bachert, Esq.
The Bachert Law Firm, P.A.
330 Clematis Street, Suite 222
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401
Please be aware and advised that this public forum is designed to provide only general information, to give you a basis of legal knowledge. This public forum does not give you attorney-client privilege. You and I have not entered into an attorney-client relationship. I am not responsible for your legal rights and this answer is based solely on the information you have provided in your question and as always, I would advise that you arrange for an in person consultation with an attorney from my firm or another Family Law attorney familiar with Florida Family Law who can analyze the specific facts and circumstances of your case more closely to better advise you.