50-50 Equity Split

I have a marital separation contract with ex (not entered into divorce decree). I pay alimony which more than covers mortgage payment & utility bills.

The home language in contract reads: “The parties own real property at X. The home has a mortgage in both parties names. Effective at the date of separation, ex is solely responsible for the mortgage, taxes & ins related to the home. Ex will hold harmless & indemnify me for any liability or expenses including ex’s failure to pay debts or accounts. Me & ex will share financial responsibility for any repairs or improvements needed for home. Ex has until X (date) to assume home solely in her name. As of that date, if ex has been unable to assume the home solely in her name the house must be sold.” I receive the tax deduction for home.

She has not initiated a quit claim deed in over 4 years since the divorce and the date requiring her to sell is quickly approaching.

If she does decide to sell - could I assume the equity should be split 50/50 as the agreement gives no specifics to this? If she asks me last min to sign a quit claim - would I be wise to fight for an equity pay out before I sign? What if she stays in home past the date?

I also have a second question. Our agreement also specifies for me to pay alimony with a clause that her cohabitation or remarriage would have no affect on me paying. Since the state statue differs from this language, could we have entered into an ageement with that language?


Since that section is poorly worded and does not state to which spouse the house is being distributed to for equitable distribution and does not state any specifics of the sale, who is responsible for selling it, and how proceeds would be divided, these details would likely need to be negotiated and a resolution agreed upon. Therefore, you can’t assume a 50/50 division of net proceeds.

If she presents a quitclaim deed for you to sign within the prescribed time period, then you should sign the quitclaim because it appears based on the language that you provided that all she is required to do is have a quitclaim recorded conveying all interest in the house to her. Since this is a separation agreement, all decisions must be reached by mutual agreement. If you were to try to fight to get the 50/50 and she were to disagree, your only options to settle the issue would be hire a mediator or arbitrator unless this information is covered in another part of your separation agreement.

If she stays in the home and does not list it for sale by the date in the separation agreement, then she would be in breach of contract and you could file a lawsuit against her for the claim of breach of contract.

Yes, you could have entered into an agreement that stated that your alimony obligation ends upon her remarriage or cohabitation as defined by statute (this is how the law reads for alimony) or you could have entered into the agreement that you did that does remarriage or cohabitation have no effect on your alimony payments.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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