Missoula, MT asked in Real Estate Law for California

Q: House under contract to sell, and now one of the two owners is in disagreement about how to distribute sale proceeds.

There are two names on the deed as joint tenants in California. We were going to split proceeds 50/50, but now my partner is insisting he wants more of the money from the sale. We have no written agreement. The house is under contract and will close in ten days. What happens to the money if we can not work out an agreement before then? Can the title company where the clossing is done write two checks, each for half of the proceeds, and then let us duke it out afterwords? I will not accept less than my 50%. Will this cause the sale to not be able to close (which will probably result then in lawsuit from buyer)? Thus, to keep the closing from stopping, how can I make sure that the proceeds are not distributed in a way that I think is unfair?

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1 Lawyer Answer

James Joseph Falcone

PREMIUM
Answered
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: What the title and escrow company does is up to them, but if they receive conflicting escrow instructions from the two owners they may not be able to close the sale. If you cannot reach an agreement with the co-owner, the solution of last resort is a lawsuit for Partition, in which the court orders the property sold, and the court determines how the money is split.

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