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Real estate Q&A: How I can find ex so I can sell condo we bought together?

Gary M. Singer, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Q: I bought a condominium with my live-in girlfriend about a decade ago. When we broke up a few years ago, I stayed in the apartment and kept paying the mortgage and the bills. I just remembered her name was even on the deed when I recently decided to sell it. I have no idea where she is now. How can I reclaim my property? — Kevin

A: When you purchased your apartment with your ex-girlfriend, both of you became equal owners. The easiest way to become the complete property owner is to get her to deed her portion of the property back to you. If she is unwilling to cooperate, you will need to take her to court.

First, you will have to find her. Looking at social media and speaking to mutual friends is a good way to start. If you do find her, she may want to be compensated, so it is a good idea to be prepared to negotiate with her.

If you cannot find her, or you do, and she does not want to cooperate, speak with an attorney about your options. Attorneys have access to resources to help you locate her, and if she does not want to deal with this, your attorney can file a “partition” lawsuit. With this type of lawsuit, you will ask the court to enable the property to be sold and split the proceeds from the sale.


To determine the split, the court will look at the specifics of the purchase and maintenance of the home. Who made the down payment, paid the bills, and made the repairs will be looked at.

The court will try to reach a fair split, but that does not mean that each party will get back the money they put into the property.

There are also procedures that can be followed if you cannot find your ex-girlfriend despite your best efforts.

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