Couples who own real estate together don’t always see eye to eye. Some may wonder, “Can I sell my house without spousal consent?” There is no straightforward answer to this situation, but you will find a few pointers to help you navigate this topic.
A house can be sold without spousal consent under certain circumstances. You are permitted to sell your house without spousal consent (including common law marriage) if you do not jointly own the property.
But this introduction video first.
If the only name appearing on the official copies of the house deed is yours, then you are the sole owner of the house. It means you can do anything you want with the property (including selling or renting it out) without consulting your spouse.
There might be some confusion between joint ownership and being named on the house repayments. When you are named on the house repayment, you only share the responsibility of making payments for the property. It does not mean you share ownership of the property.
Being named on the house repayment will not stop your spouse from selling the house if their name is the only one reflected on the property’s title deed.
In some jurisdictions, property obtained throughout the marriage can never be sold by a spouse without the consent of the other. Permission must be granted by both parties in the relationship before ownership of the property is changed.
Such states view marital properties as being co-owned by both spouses. However, any property obtained before marriage with only one spouse’s name on the title can be sold without any consultation with the other partner.
You might be the sole owner of the property, but your spouse could still block you from selling the house. They may apply for marital home rights to be allowed to stay on the property. This means that you cannot sell the house immediately.
When the application is made, the land registry will make contact and explain the repercussions of the application. You may contact your legal team to find ways to regain the right to sell the house.
Suppose your spouse has contributed financially towards the house on things such as house repayment, home modification, or construction work. In that case, they can apply for an occupation order that will allow them to continue staying on the property. If this request is granted, you will not be able to sell the house.
To attain these orders, they will have to involve the courts, a process that is expensive and time-consuming for both parties. The court might allow you to sell the house but also award your spouse a share of the proceeds from the sale of the house, depending on the money the spouse will claim to have invested in the property.
Some states have established community property laws, including California, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Washington. In these states, if a wife is not available for the sale or is not of sound mind, the husband may seek a power of attorney.
The husband can later use the power of attorney he has to consent to the sale on behalf of his wife. Some states even allow the wife to sign a quit claim deed or grant deed. When signed, the grant deed means that the wife has relinquished her property ownership.
When an issue of consent arises during the sale of a house or property (either freehold or leasehold), it mostly means that the couple is divorcing or their relationship might be changing.
A wife might decide to sell their house, and the husband might not be ready for that. The wife may decide to look for a buyer without informing the husband.
The laws regarding property sales without your partner’s approval also apply to civil partnerships. In situations where the husband is against the sale, he might decide to use litigation to block the sale.
As a wife, you can begin searching for a suitable buyer for the house without informing your husband if he cannot prove to be a co-owner of the property.
If his name does not appear on the property’s title deeds, you can look for a buyer and sell the house without your husband’s consent.
You can decide to sell your house anytime if you are the owner. However, if you co-own the property with another party, there will be challenges since you have to get their consent. But there are ways in which you can speed up the process or force the sale.
You can decide to buy out your other co-owners and remain as the sole owner of the house and afterward sell it. If you need the money, you can convince the other party to buy you out, and they remain the only owner. A buyout may only occur if one co-owner can put together the finances needed to complete the process.
Each co-owner has a share of the property when a purchase is done jointly. These can be sold by one of the co-owners even if the rest do not agree. The buyer does not necessarily have to be familiar with the other co-owners. Following this method will be tricky since most people have reservations about co-owning a property with a stranger.
With compelling reason, the court may issue an order forcing all the co-owners to sell. The process is referred to as a partition action. The land is easy to divide between different owners, but a house cannot be divided.
Therefore, the court must compel the owners to sell the house and divide the proceeds among themselves based on their shares. This happens even though some owners may not want to.
Legally there is a difference between a property deed and a mortgage. Even if you transfer property ownership to another person, you remain responsible for settling the mortgage.
You must take care of the mortgage issue even after the sale has been completed. You may settle the mortgage issue by paying up using the proceeds of the sale or try convincing the new owners to take up the mortgage payment.
Failure to do the above means you will continue paying the mortgage for a house that is no longer yours.
You can only sell your house without your ex-husband’s consent if your name is the only one that appears on the house’s deed or listed with the title company. After divorcing, the powers you have over the sale of your house majorly depend on whether you and your ex-husband are co-owners of the house or not.
If your ex-husband’s name appears on the title, you must seek his consent before selling the house. But the situation can drastically change if you prove that you need the money from the house sale to survive.
Another challenge may arise when selling the house and you have children under the age of 18 years living in the house. You must have a good reason if you want the court to permit you to sell the house.
If the house is under your name, you can decide to sell it at any point without seeking consent from your ex-husband, preferably if no children are leaving in that house under the age of 18 years.
Selling a house without the consent of your spouse or any other person is possible as long as the ownership of the property is exclusively yours. You will also have to consider your jurisdiction since the laws surrounding this issue differ.
You can also contact a law expert to advise you on the best course of action. A real estate agent will also be helpful since they have years of experience operating in the area.
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