Can dad stop the sale of this house in a divorce?

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Q. A couple bought a house and the husband’s father is on the mortgage because husband has bad credit. Fast forward a few years and the couple is divorcing. They want to sell the house and split the proceeds. Does the father on the mortgage have any say?
— Looking for help

A. You didn’t mention if your father-in-law is on the deed of the home.

If your father-in-law is not on the deed, he is not an owner of the home, said Ronald Lieberman, an attorney and chair of the family law practice group at Cooper Levenson in Cherry Hill and Atlantic City.

“He has no rights to force or to prevent a sale,” Lieberman said. “In other words, he has all of the detriments of home ownership by being on the mortgage with none of the benefits of home ownership.”

Lieberman said upon the sale of the home, the mortgage would be paid off.

“A home cannot be sold unless any mortgages are satisfied by the sellers,” he said. “It should not matter to the father whether the proceeds from the sale pay off the mortgage or whether the sellers have to bring funds to the closing to pay off the mortgage because either way, the mortgage must be paid off and the father is cleared.”

As a result, Lieberman said, you can either sell or not sell the home, and your father-in-law has little if no ability to stop you.

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This story was originally published on July 11, 2019.

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