Legal Question in Real Estate Law in Virginia

Unmarried domestic partners jointly bought house, split downpayment and mortgage payements equally for 5.5 years. Relations soured, and a protective order was eventually needed due to several incidents of domestic violence against me. I stupidly did not press charges (!), but instead vacated residence for my safety, while the protective order stayed in effect for a year. Hes had sole use/occupancy of our residence the last 2.5 years since.

I paid for 2 appraisals plus over a year of attorney's fees trying to settle this equitably out of court. I also secured a realtor to start the selling process when it looked like he would agree to sell and split proceeds. However, he was just yanking my chain this whole time! Ultimately, he wasted my time and money, proved very manipulative vs. trying to truly resolve our issue.

He wont agree to sell and split proceeds; he wont buy me out (my equity). Basically, he's ignoring my right to share equally in the joint equity gained on the house we jointly purchased! Equity in the property increased $94K by the time I vacated the home, and even with lousy property prices today, has probably increased over $100K by now (although I have not contributed to mortgage payments since vacating the house 2.5 years ago).

Appears he wont give me my 50% unless court ordered by a judge! A partition suit seems a lengthy, costly recourse, but may be the only one. Based on your experience in similiar situations, how is this likely to turn out? Would I be awarded equity just up to the point I moved out (which seems fair to me) ... or 1/2 of the full equity til today's date, but have to pay back mortgage? Length of time necessary if it goes to partition suit? Expected cost to handle a partition? I need to get out from this woeful past experience and former abuse, get my equity due, and move on. How can I find an attorney well-versed in partition suits, but also equally adept at handling a calculating, manipulative domestic abuser? Thank you so much for your responses!

Asked on 8/27/09, 7:21 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Michael Hendrickson Law Office Michael E. Hendrickson

Yes, I believe that you've answered your own question, i.e., a partition suit is probably your only feasible remedy under the circumstances which you've described.

As to the exact formula which a court might choose to fix your just compensation, that could depend upon a variety of factors which are not now sufficiently in evidence from your question in order to fairly evaluate how they might possibly affect the formula to be used by the court in adjudging your fair compensation.

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Answered on 9/07/09, 5:09 pm

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