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Division of Property - 17 years later

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Anonymous Asked:

Can an ex-wife come back 17 years after the divorce and demand that the house, that we (me & new wife) are currently living in, be sold and divided equally? Nothing regarding the house was decided upon in the final divorce decree. The house was offered to her at the time of the divorce, but she declined, stating that she could not afford the mortgage payments. I have since paid off the mortgage, all property taxes and maintenance since the divorce in 1997. Please advise.

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A Family Lawyer
6 years ago

Yes, if an owner of property wishes to sell that property, then she may do so. You need to consult with an experienced family law lawyer. The starting point will be the current or today value of the house. You need to evidence all of your contributions and efforts to the home since separation. She will be entitled to at least one-half of the value as of the date of separation. Not sure how you are going to evidence the value of the home on separation. With her consent or acquiescence, you continued to live in the home and contribute to its upkeep. You need to deal with the issue of having the benefit of exclusive enjoyment of the property and perhaps the information pertaining to the house being offered would suffice. It would be interesting to know if there was a mortgage on the property and in which case exactly how that was renewed as she likely did not consent or sign any documents dealing with the mortgage.

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