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What can i do? And how likely would a petition to partiton give me full ownership of the house?

Fairhaven, MA |

I own a 2 family home w/ my ex girfriend. I am living on 1st fl and up until a few weeks ago, she was living on the 2nd fl w/ a roomate and his son. She (my ex and the other name/owner on the mortgage) has since moved out and is now refusing to pay her portion of the mortgage leaving the entire bill on my shoulders.. I will soon have proof/receipts of this. Do I have the opportunity to get my ex off of the mortgage under MA laws , given the current situation?

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Attorney answers 5


If you no longer want to own this property with your ex, you should consult a real estate attorney to assist you with a petition to partition which can force the sale of a property when one owner refuses to sell and such petitions can be very successful under the right circumstances. You may want to speak with your ex girlfriend to see if you can buy her out and own the property outright. If she says no, then file the petition. As for the mortgage, you would likely need to refinance to have her name removed from it but only doing that does not remove her as a property owner. These kinds of situations can be tricky so you should really have an attorney assist you with this. Best of luck.

Please be sure to mark if you find the answer "helpful" or a "best" answer. (It lets us know how we are doing.) Attorney Kremer is licensed to practice in Massachusetts. Please visit her Avvo profile for contact information. In accordance with Avvo guidelines, the following disclaimer applies to all responses given in this forum: The above is NOT legal advice, and is NOT intended to be legal advice. No Attorney-Client relationship is created through the above answer.

Emma A. Kremer

Emma A. Kremer


I should add that you should be able to obtain her share of the mortgage payments she hasn't paid because if neither of you pay it, you will both be liable for the balance, which is something you should keep in mind when asking her to let you buy her out.


Why do you want her off the mortgage? Ownership is determined by who's on the deed, not the mortgage. As long as she's on the mortgage, she is liable as a co-signer. A lawyer can help you get her name off the deed, if she's on it. Aside from that, her financial and sweat-equity contributions to the property, if any, may be relevant. You need to talk to a real estate lawyer (or maybe even a general practice lawyer, since this may turn out to be fairly straightforward and not require specialization), give him/her all the facts, and they will be able to help you. Good luck.

This is intended for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or create an attorney-client relationship.


I am not a MA attorney, laws vary from state to state, therefore you should always consult a local attorney.

A petition to partition only permits the court to order sale of the property - it does not extinguish someone's ownership rights. To get full ownership of the home, you would still have to buy out your ex's equity interest.

If this answer was helpful, please mark it as helpful or as a best answer. This answer is for general education purposes only. It neither creates an attorney-client relationship nor provides legal guidance or advice. The answer is based on the limited information provided and the answer might be different had additional information been provided. You should consult an attorney.


Only if you buy her out or seek partition action

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You can't get your ex "off the mortgage" except by refinancing the property.

If you can get the financing, I suggest that you offer to buy her out before going to court. That would be cheaper for you than the next step, which is a petition to partition. A petition to partition will result in a court order to sell the property. The sale will be controlled by a "commissioner" appointed by the court to oversee the process. The commissioner will have a duty of getting the best price for the property -- which may or may not be the amount you can afford to pay. The commissioner will be paid for his services from the sale proceeds, while the agent will still get her commission.

E. Alexandra "Sasha" Golden is a Massachusetts lawyer. All answers are based on Massachusetts law. All answers are for educational purposes and no attorney-client relationship is formed by providing an answer to a question.

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