Legal Question in Family Law in Minnesota

Decree wording

Below is the wording directly from my decree. Is it possible that I can after reasonable time and house not sold that hope that ex should pay one-half of the mortgage as shown? There appears to be a contradiction. I just need to know if I have a case at all. No kids in home (22 & 25).

“Said homestead shall be sold by March 1, 2006; if said homestead is not sold by March 1, 2006 Respondent shall be responsible for one-half of the mortgage payment, commencing March 1, 2006 and continuing until the sale of the house.

Commencing March 1, 2004, and continuing until the sale of the parties homestead, the homestead shall be occupied by Respondent and Respondent shall be solely responsible for all payments for the homestead, except the mortgage payment (PITI_ which shall be paid by Petitioner.”

Ex is alcoholic and does nothing to support herself in anyway. My financial situation continues to deterioriate. I'm always on time with spousal obligation...not disputing that (Karin waiver)however the mortgage is adjustable and I have received a pay cut. Financially I am very close to ruin. Ex does not work and does very little with daily upkeep to keep presentable for sale due to alcohol & drug abuse.

What are your thoughts?

Asked on 7/08/09, 5:08 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

John Jesperson Minnesota Lawyers - Jesperson Law Offices
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Re: Decree wording

First, the language in your decree does appear to be contradictory, since it states that the respondent (presumably your ex-wife) is responsible for the mortgage payments pending sale, and yet it also seems to state she is only responsible for half the payment after march 1, 2006. It is possible something is being taken out of context. I would certainly need to review the decree in its entirety in order to comment on the specific language.

Second, without examining the decree, I cannot understand why you would have agreed to the immediate sale of the home (which seems to be implied by this language, and yet made provisions for mortgage payments more than two years after the divorce. (I am presuming your divorce decree was entered in 2004.)

I would recommend bringing a motion in which you ask the court to give you the responsibility for listing and sale of the home. Further, depending on the circumstances, the court could conceivably remove your ex-wife from the home, if she is frustrating sale of the property and causing it to lose value.

I would obviously have to consider many more facts to offer you meaningful advice about this matter. When was the decree entered? Why do you assume you are responsible for paying half the mortgage, since the language you quote does not seem to order this? How much do you pay in maintenance? Has the condition of the home deteriorated? Is it listed for sale? Why hasn't it sold? Have you had any offers? Who is dealing with the realtor? These and other questions need to be answered, but in general, I would suggest you take responsibility for the sale, and obtain an order for that purpose if your ex-wife is truly thwarting the sale.

Call my office if you have further questions. 952.285.2944.

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7/08/09, 5:50 pm

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