Q: My husband and I are in the process of divorcing. When we bought our house eight years ago, his mother cosigned the mortgage because our credit was poor. Now she is claiming to own one third of the house and plans to take legal action to force the sale of the property, thereby removing me and the three minor children from the premises. Does she have any claim to this property?
A: Your soon-to-be-ex-mother-in-law sounds like a charming woman who is very concerned about her son, but not as concerned about her grandchildren.
If she cosigned the mortgage it’s probable that she is on title to the property. You’ll need to find out what legal interest she has in the property. If you are represented by an attorney in your divorce, you may want to have a discussion with him or her about your situation. When owners are in disagreement on how to handle the ownership of a property and can’t work it out amicably, they can turn to the courts and file a suit to partition the title of the home and, in some cases, force the sale of the home.
The legal process can be expensive and your soon to be ex-mother-in-law may be using her ownership interest in the home to assist her son in his divorce proceedings against you.
What you should do now is talk to a real estate attorney or your divorce attorney to make sure your MIL doesn’t get anything she isn’t entitled to. Good luck.
Jan. 19, 2009.