Q: Can my partner not pay their half of the mortgage and move to another state?
A: You indicate you have a partner. That implies that you are not married. Do you have a partnership agreement? Who is on the deed to the real property? Who is on the mortgage?
If there is a partnership agreement then that would govern any division of property. If there is no agreement then each person gets whatever is his/her.
If you and your partner bought the home together and both of you are on the deed to the home, but only you are on the mortgage, then your partner can leave. Payment of the mortgage will be your problem. You and your partner should discuss transferring the property solely in your name though. If just you are on the mortgage and deed then there is no problem - your partner can leave any time he/she wants.
If your partner is also on the mortgage, things get a little tricky. Someone has to pay the mortgage - the mortgage company does not care who. Whoever is going to stay in the home needs to do it. It would be better in such case for you (assuming you are staying) to refinance the property solely in your name and have your partner do a quitclaim deed transferring his/her interest in the property to you. You may have to pay your partner for his/her share of the equity too. I would see a family lawyer who deals in these kinds of non-marital relationship dissolutions or a real estate lawyer if you are concerned with just the mortgage and deed.
If the mortgage is solely in your partner's name, then if your partner does not pay the mortgage company is going to foreclose unless you pay. It would still be better for you to buy the property and get it into your name for both the mortgage and deed if you want it. On the other hand, if just your partner is on the mortgage, then your credit is not going to be affected by a foreclosure and if your partner does not want to help pay until the house can be sold, then, depending on the equity in the home, you might just want to start saving your cash while living there rent free.
But you really need to sit down with an attorney who can review your situation with you to decide what is best.
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