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  1. #1
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    Jun 2018
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    Default Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    My question involves real estate located in the State of: Florida

    During a divorce in 2013, the courts split up several properties that were co-owned by me and my ex-wife. The home was given to me, one rental was given to my ex, and 1/2 ownership of another was also awarded to her (we are both on the titles). Since 2005 (purchase year) my ex has never helped with anything to do with these properties. She left the state in 2010, has never once contacted me regarding the real estate. I have paid to maintain and have managed them all along. There is really no value in selling them since the mortgages are still a bit above the market value and they basically just pay for themselves. I am over maintaining and shouldering the risk since my ex could take complete ownership at anytime (of one of them) and I'm left with nothing for 13 years of work and cost.

    I recently contacted her and as usual, she wanted to argue and showed no interest in taking ownership of the property. Of course she is not willing to sign them over either. I want to present to the court all the records of the expenses I have incurred over the years, the management, and the stress and explain that she shows no interest in resolving this and has had no involvement.

    I am looking for advice on how to get the ball rolling so I can either have them 100% or ask the court to make her take full ownership of the one so I can be done with it. My goal though is to have them awarded to me.

    I also want to get her name off the home I am living in. I am sure that will be much easier since it was awarded to me but I still am not sure how to approach that either.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    Have you been sending your ex her share of the rent proceeds?

  3. #3
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    Here is the problem. The properties have mortgages. Your name is on the mortgages. The judge cannot remove your name from the mortgages. The judge could order your wife to refinance the rental that was awarded to her, but as you state, the mortgages are a bit above FMV therefore there is little to no chance that she would be able to refinance the property unless she put additional money down. Does she have that kind of money? A judge cannot force a mortgage company to give her a mortgage either.

    I realize that it is a bit of a pain in the neck for you, but you said that they basically pay for themselves, so it does not appear that you are ending up out of pocket. It seems to me that what you are doing is protecting your credit.

  4. #4
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    Jun 2018
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    7

    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    Quote Quoting jk
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    Have you been sending your ex her share of the rent proceeds?
    Nope. We have never had an agreement, discussed it nor has she ever asked for it. I see your point about "her share" but I find that laughable (thats not directed at you) considering what I have gone through with her over this and her indifference. At this point that may or may not be a valid arguement in court but to counter that as I mentioned above.. she deserted the property a long time ago. Specifically since the final divorce in 2013 so over 5 years worth not to mention we were seperated in 2008. Her name is only on the properties because we were married (happily) when the purchases were made. Her name is not on the mortage of the rental, just mine.

    Quote Quoting llworking
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    Here is the problem. The properties have mortgages. Your name is on the mortgages. The judge cannot remove your name from the mortgages. The judge could order your wife to refinance the rental that was awarded to her, but as you state, the mortgages are a bit above FMV therefore there is little to no chance that she would be able to refinance the property unless she put additional money down. Does she have that kind of money? A judge cannot force a mortgage company to give her a mortgage either.


    I realize that it is a bit of a pain in the neck for you, but you said that they basically pay for themselves, so it does not appear that you are ending up out of pocket. It seems to me that what you are doing is protecting your credit.
    For the rental, only my name is on the mortgage. So easy for her to walk away, not so much for me. She doesn't have the ability to finance a coffee table. I end up paying out of pocket when issues arise and that happens several times a year. I am watching the market rise and if things continue, I hope I can get my investment back and hopefully some in my pocket too. But that means a year or maybe years of dealing with it so I want to get this settled asap.

  5. #5
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    Jan 2006
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    38,867

    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    You don’t need an agreement. She is legallly entitled to 1/2 of the proceeds from the co-owned property and if you are renting out her property, she is entitled to all of the rental income. Is there some reason you believe she isn’t entitled to her share of any income derived from properties she owns herself or co owns with you?

    On top of that, since the courts have already stated how they are to be divided, another court isn’t going to countermand your divorce court judge, at least without her receiving compensation.

    Since it is unlikely she can actually buy you out it sounds like you might have to seek a partition of the properties. The court will order them all sold or possibly allow you to purchase her shares from her.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    7

    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    The reason I believe she isn't entitled is because she walked away from them, has had 110% no involvement in 13 years. If not for me, they would have been in forclosure the following month the order was given. I have asked her prior to this to take possession but she just wants to argue about the divorce and not address this issue. This part of the divorce was actually handled by a magistrate, not a judge for what that is worth so a judge would be seeing this for the first time if that's where things end up. Maybe it would be addressed by a magistrate again, that's why I am looking for advice and trying to figure out what to expect. The property current has no positive value so if sold, I would still owe on the mortgage. If I were to get this heard in court, I would basically bet everything she will never show up or do anything actually. I know her nature.. It would most likely just be me presenting my case.

  7. #7
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    Jan 2006
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    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    Well, you’re wrong. She is legally entitled to 1/2 of the rental income from any property she co-owns with you. You can arguably deduct the cost of maintenance and taxes. You can ask the court for such an offset but it isn’t your option to do it arbitrarily.

    It doesnt matter that she had no involvement. You dont get to keep her money.

    Magistrate or judge is irrelevent as long as there is a court order addressing the issue. That is what has been ruled on by a court with authority.

    If you ask for full ownership, you need to pay her for her share of the equity. You don’t get to just keep her money here either.


    So what you do is get an accurate appraisal of all of all three properties. Then figure out the equity. If there is any net equity in the properties in whole, get a bag and put 1/2 or that amount in it. This is what you would owe her for the sale of the properties (you can deduct 1/2 of selling costs if there are any).

    Then go to court with the cash and the appraisals and ask the court to award you full possession of the properties in exchange for you handing her the cash

    dont forget to bring another bag with (at least) of of the Net income from the properties. You will owe her at least that much due to you renting the properties. You will also want to sue her for 1/2 the costs attributable to the houses since the divorce. If you don’t do that, bring a bag with 1/2 of the gross receipts received from Renting them since with no claim against her, you will owe 1/2 of the gross income to her.


    Dont include your time spent on the home’s. You don’t get paid to work on your own home.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
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    17,946

    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    Quote Quoting Rfoster143
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    The reason I believe she isn't entitled

    Doesn't matter what you believe.

    The reality is that she OWNS the property along with you and if you want her signature on anything you'll have to buy it.

    Or file a partition action to force the sale of the properties.

    Unfortunately, partition sales often go to investors at auction for significantly less than market value which appears to be significantly less than what's owed on them so you'll have to come up with cash anyway.

    I know, bitter pill to swallow but that's the way it is.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
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    7

    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    Thanks for the information. Not what I expected to hear but that's why I was reaching out.

  10. #10
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    Oct 2006
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    Default Re: Asking Court for Full Ownership of Rental Property

    Quote Quoting jk
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    Well, you’re wrong. She is legally entitled to 1/2 of the rental income from any property she co-owns with you. You can arguably deduct the cost of maintenance and taxes. You can ask the court for such an offset but it isn’t your option to do it arbitrarily.
    I disagree with the bolded. I agree that she is due 1/2 of the profit. I do not agree that she is due 1/2 of the rents. A rental is a business just like any other business. No owner of a business is due more than their share of the profit. Saying that they would be due a proportional share of the gross income is illogical from any standpoint.

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