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Can a spouse stop the sale of a house when the alternative is foreclosure?

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#1
I have owned my house for around 12 years, my husband has lived there since we married less than 5 years ago. l am the only one on the deed and mortgage. The house is in pre-foreclosure, but I have found a potential buyer who is offering enough to cover the balance. Husband is aware of the financial situation with the house. I am worried he may refuse to cooperate with the sale out of spite, in order to force me into foreclosure. What are my options? Are there any negative consequences for him if he does this?
 


Just Blue

Senior Member
#2
I have owned my house for around 12 years, my husband has lived there since we married less than 5 years ago. l am the only one on the deed and mortgage. The house is in pre-foreclosure, but I have found a potential buyer who is offering enough to cover the balance. Husband is aware of the financial situation with the house. I am worried he may refuse to cooperate with the sale out of spite, in order to force me into foreclosure. What are my options? Are there any negative consequences for him if he does this?
Are you and dear ol' hubby considering divorce?
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
#6
Sorry, forgot to mention the state. TN. Both of us are currently living in the home, and I am considering filing for divorce. I would like to deal with the home first if possible.
If you are considering divorce then now is a good time to see a divorce lawyer on this issue. You are lucky in that you are not in a community property state. Thus, your husband does not have an actual property interest in the home. He has a marital interest, but in general in common law states that interest only comes into play a divorce proceeding. As a result, his consent is likely not needed to sell the place. That said, if either of you were to start divorce proceedings before that sale was finalized he might be able to get an order preventing the sale or at least ensuring the proceeds are placed in some kind of trust pending the division of assets in the divorce. Talk to a divorce attorney to map out how make the sale go smoothly so you can avoid the foreclosure problem. If the house does not have a great deal of equity then it wouldn't make sense for him to hold up the sale anyway, but you want to be prepared for whatever he might try to do once you start the sale process.
 

xylene

Senior Member
#7
That said, if either of you were to start divorce proceedings before that sale was finalized he might be able to get an order preventing the sale or at least ensuring the proceeds are placed in some kind of trust pending the division of assets in the divorce.
If the house is underwater it may not even be an asset.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
#8
If the house is underwater it may not even be an asset.
While true, the OP did say "but I have found a potential buyer who is offering enough to cover the balance" which indicates that she will at least cover the outstanding mortgage/deed of trust, though perhaps not much more than that. Thus my statement that if the house has little equity it wouldn't make sense for her spouse to try to hold up the sale.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
#9
While true, the OP did say "but I have found a potential buyer who is offering enough to cover the balance" which indicates that she will at least cover the outstanding mortgage/deed of trust, though perhaps not much more than that. Thus my statement that if the house has little equity it wouldn't make sense for her spouse to try to hold up the sale.
I agree with you wholeheartedly, although we have all seen a lot of spouses do a lot of really bizarre things on these forums.
 

ShyCat

Senior Member
#10
He has a marital interest, but in general in common law states that interest only comes into play a divorce proceeding. As a result, his consent is likely not needed to sell the place.
I bought a house in Tennessee and months later got married. I never added him to the deed. Years later, when I refinanced, he had to sign some papers at the closing because he had dower rights. He also had to sign some papers when I sold the house a couple years ago. So as I understand it, his consent is required.
 

HRZ

Senior Member
#11
Post 1977 except for prior vested dower rights, no new dower rights were created in TN

But as a practical matter a buyer might wisely insist on release of any spousal claim at closing and that spouse is out of home too ...a squatting spouse can make a sale difficult.

OP you might be smart to get divorce counsel soon.
 
#14
I bought a house in Tennessee and months later got married. I never added him to the deed. Years later, when I refinanced, he had to sign some papers at the closing because he had dower rights. He also had to sign some papers when I sold the house a couple years ago. So as I understand it, his consent is required.
Some cautious lenders/buyers may ask for his consent, but the transfer would be good without it as he has no title interest in the property. Dower rights were abolished in TN in 1977, though dower rights held as of April 1, 1977 were vested and remained. OP has owned the house only 12 years, so no dower rights are at issue in this case.
 

ShyCat

Senior Member
#15
Some cautious lenders/buyers may ask for his consent, but the transfer would be good without it as he has no title interest in the property. Dower rights were abolished in TN in 1977, though dower rights held as of April 1, 1977 were vested and remained. OP has owned the house only 12 years, so no dower rights are at issue in this case.
How odd. I bought the house in 1997, and was specifically told he had to sign something because of his dower rights when I refinanced years later. Misleading info from escrow agent, I guess. No harm, no foul, merely a nuisance since he had to take time off at work to attend the refinance closing.
 
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