My daughter in law is now divorcing my son we live in a multi-generation home. They put in $20,000 to purchase the home, four months later we remortgaged. Any advice?

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We put down $61,000. She is now wanting her share of initial down payment of $20,000 and sueing for 25% of our $61,000 put down at remortgage. We all are on the deed.


My daughter in law abandoned the home. We have the home up for sale. She is trying to bankrupt us. Can this come under financial abuse or extortion?

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I think an important issue underlying this situation is that apparently the son and DIL, as well as the parents, have a financial basis in an asset that's subject to a divorce. And if there is a suit, and the parties can't agree, I think any disposition outside of the divorce proceeding is a real gamble.

Another possibility is that the parents may wish to pay off the DIL and keep the house; it doesn't have to be sold as it is apparently a primary residence for the son's parents.
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I would think that each of the four people on the deed would be compensated when the house sells, with the amount based on whether the ownership is tenants in common (TIC) or as joint tenants with the right of survivorship (JTWROS).

I am sure not a real estate attorney! I think the first thing to do is to look at the deed and see which type of ownership is specified. Then look up what that means, for a little more background on this problem.

Is DIL suing you? Have you been notified officially? Or is this what she is claiming as part of her divorce proceeding?

Divorces are very difficult experiences, even when they are mutually desired in a "good-bye, no hard feelings, let's stay friends" manner. Often the dividing of assets is especially stressful. DIL wants as much as she can get, to start her life over. Her lawyer will try to include everything she is (or might be) legitimately entitled to. That is the lawyer's job. Son and DIL can negotiate over these things after a list is proposed. And the court may not approve the settlement. Somehow it is hard to see her going to the lawyer and saying, "I want to see my ex-in-laws go bankrupt, so let's make the settlement as hard on them as possible." Rather she's wanting the settlement to be as large as it can be, so she can reestablish her life. No hard feelings against you necessarily, just trying to look out for herself.

If this is part of the divorce proceedings, let your son, DIL, and their lawyers work it out.

If she really is bringing a suite against you, you may want your own lawyer, but do consider the cost compared to what you might save if you won the case. For example, if the least she would get is half of the initial investment of the couple, $10,000 and she is "suing you" for $15,000 consider how much a lawyer would cost if you fight this. And you could possibly lose, she gets the money and you have only your legal fees to show for it.

DIL is on the deed. I don't think there is any way she will not be compensated when the house sells. The only question is how much.
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Why would you feel your DIL is trying to bankrupt you? And financial abuse or extortion? Is she threatening bodily harm?

Well, what she gets depends on what's adjudicated in the divorce proceedings. If it's a contested divorce, she may not get what she wants.

I wouldn't agree to anything outside of court proceedings - I'm assuming this is a contested divorce? Since you're all (joint?) fee holders, paying out now or disposing of the house prior to a judgment of divorce might be considered interference with the divorce process.

Do you all hold title accordingly to the percentage of your contributions, i.e., DIL would be a fee holder with an X% interest?

You could consider a proposed agreement, but given the blending of financial assets for the house, I think you'd be wise to discuss this with your son's divorce attorney.

However, it's not clear to me if she actually provided the contributions in the amount she wants, or if those are just demands.

There also would be a disposition made of the house, i.e., whether it would be sold and the proceeds divided evenly or if you and your husband remain in the house.

I guess I'm also not sure how this relates to aging care. I think it's more of a divorce question, and one which should be addressed by your son's attorney.
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