I apologize in advance for the length and complexity of this, but I swear this is a real situation with only the names changed. I’ll try to keep the sentences short and sweet in an attempt to make it easier to follow. Here goes:
Mike and Anne get married.
Assets Mike brought into the marriage = nothing.
Assets Anne brought into the marriage = A (modest)house(that she inherited, and owned outright)
Later they decide to build a (nicer)house – I’ll call this house #2.
In order to do this, Anne put up some cash for down payment and also House #1 as collateral. For whatever reason, Anne “donates” the house(#2) to Mike. “Donate” is apparently some legal term which means that whenever they settle community property after the inevitable divorce, that the house(#2) will legally be viewed as Mike’s seperate property(not community property). Having said all that, they are both listed on the bank note(even though she would have no ownership claim, just responsibility for the debt).
Mike put up nothing but his signature on the bank note.
Later, they bought a new vehicle(approx $25,000) and managed to use House #1 to secure this(apparently some kind of home equity loan). So they are effectivley paying on the vehicle even though they legally own it outright. And house #1 (which Anne already owns) is now securing two other loans. In essence, she is paying notes on a house that she already owns.
Bear with me, it gets worse…
Approximately 3 years later, they get divorced. I am shocked!
Mike files for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy trustee decides that Mike’s assets are not significant enough to even bother to distribute to creditors(less than $100 in a bank account and misc. personal items). However, the decree does specificy that he relinquishes any claims to House #2.
As of this date, community property has not been settled.
Anne has continued to pay the notes on House #2.
Here’s where I need help…
A prospective buyer has made an offer to buy House #2. Can Anne sell it?
I realize that Mike has no claim to the house, but does Anne(since she “donated” it to Mike)? I have been told that there is some law whereby Anne can go before a judge and ask that she be given some kind of “proprietorship”. Has anyone heard of this?
A title search will be done soon(on House #2) and I don’t see that it will show that she can sell the house.
If this happens, does anyone know how she can get around this? Any specific statute or article numbers that can be used to save this house? Anyhing will be appreciated…
I swear this is a real situation. No I am not Mike or Anne. Anne is a family member… Mike is trash… And since I can’t go back in time and slap Anne around to prevent her from signing things, I thought I would check to see what The Dopers have to say…