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aksmokejumper

Forgery, theft, or hard lesson learned?

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This is my first post so forgive me if I'm missing something or if this has already been addressed elsewhere. 

 

I did something really stupid, the thing that everyone knows better not to do; I bought a house with my girlfriend... no not wife. I'll do my best to leave the drama out and focus on the facts and what my questions are. 

 

We both make okay money, so we decided to suffer the short term and make balloon monthly payments and get it paid off as soon as possible so that we can be to financially free. (One of the only smart decisions I make through this entire post). Just over 2 years later we both walk into the bank meet the seller and make the final payment that is owed. Boom! We own it and sign the quick deed. To be crystal clear here: the previous owner signs the quick deed, she signs as new owner and I sign as owner( legally co owners?I'm not sure of the proper verbage). Next, all three of us watch the notary sign it and she explains how to mail it in and get the actual deed.

 

Now as you may have guessed during the previous two years we have grown to despise eachother, and I'll leave it at that. Also, there is no way of actually telling which of us made which payments because both of us had our paychecks deposited into the same account(yea... I know) and then our bills were simply paid out of that account. It truly was very close to 50/50 but I'm guessing that really doesn't even matter. Because we both are on the deed right?

A week or so later "for some reason" the quick deed still hasn't been mailed in despite my urging. Thats right she has it somewhere basically hidden from me and won't mail it in. After another fight or something I find the quick deed and what a shocker. In an obviously quick fashion, probably while angry, she took white out and went over my name on it. It's not the cheap stuff I can scratch off but its by no means a job well done eaither. Blah blah blah she gets the deed back, it's hidden again, not mailed it, and I'm done fighting with this petty stuff. 

Where do I stand, legally, on my desire to have half of the $55,000 paid to me?  I'm not interested (rather cant afford) to buy her half from her and be the owner although I'd love to. 

Also, if I were to go through the system and the judge saw that my story was truthful, what are my chances of having her pay for at least part of my lawyer fees? 

I truly don't want to be ugly in all this, I loved the women at one point, but I really feel my hands being forced. I don't want to nor have the money to go to court (i spent most of it on a house -.-) but i simply worked to hard for and put to much into our land to walk away and let it be a lesson learned.

 

My thinking is that, if we were to go to court, the previous owner and notary from the bank would be summoned and they would testify that I indeed am a co owner. Right? 

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7 hours ago, aksmokejumper said:

My thinking is that, if we were to go to court, the previous owner and notary from the bank would be summoned and they would testify that I indeed am a co owner. Right? 

 

Right.

 

But make no mistake. Here are your options:

 

1 - Get ugly and hire a lawyer.

 

2 - Walk away, lose the money, lesson learned.

 

There really isn't any in between.

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14 hours ago, aksmokejumper said:

we both walk into the bank meet the seller and make the final payment that is owed. Boom! We own it and sign the quick deed. To be crystal clear here: the previous owner signs the quick deed, she signs as new owner and I sign as owner( legally co owners?I'm not sure of the proper verbage). Next, all three of us watch the notary sign it and she explains how to mail it in and get the actual deed.

 

First of all, when you refer to "quick deed," I assume you're talking about a quitclaim deed (there's no such thing as a "quick deed").  As far as how the deed was filled out, we obviously have no way of knowing because we haven't seen it.  However, the grantee (you and your girlfriend) doesn't typically sign a deed.  Typically, it is signed only by the seller.  It also sounds like you did all this without advice or assistance from an attorney or a realtor.  If you'd had proper advice, you never would have accepted a quitclaim deed.

 

 

14 hours ago, aksmokejumper said:

Where do I stand, legally, on my desire to have half of the $55,000 paid to me?

 

I don't know.  It sounds to me like you (ex-) girlfriend is in possession of a deed that hasn't yet been recorded.  If that's right, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, neither of you owns the home, and the prior owner still owns it.  Moreover, you've accused her of altering the deed, which she has in her possession, and you don't even have a copy as far as I can tell.

 

 

14 hours ago, aksmokejumper said:

Also, if I were to go through the system and the judge saw that my story was truthful, what are my chances of having her pay for at least part of my lawyer fees?

 

Probably zero.  The general rule in litigation in the U.S. is that each side pays for its own attorney.  None of the usual exceptions apply to the situation you have described.

 

 

14 hours ago, aksmokejumper said:

My thinking is that, if we were to go to court, the previous owner and notary from the bank would be summoned and they would testify that I indeed am a co owner. Right?

 

We have no way of knowing how people we don't know will testify.

 

The sooner you take action, the sooner your attorney can contact these persons and find out what they remember.

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37 minutes ago, pg1067 said:

My thinking is that, if we were to go to court, the previous owner and notary from the bank would be summoned and they would testify that I indeed am a co owner. Right?

A notary would only be able to testify that he or she witnessed the signatures on the document.  The notary does not verify any of the contents of the document.  Similarly, the past owner can testify that he or she signed the deed but is in no position to testify as to the arrangement between the individuals to whom he or she granted the property.

 

I would note that most court clerk's would be suspicious of recording a deed where one or more of the names of the grantees were whited-out.  It is possible the clerk refused to record the deed, which might explain why your ex friend still has the deed.

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11 hours ago, adjusterjack said:

 

Right.

 

But make no mistake. Here are your options:

 

1 - Get ugly and hire a lawyer.

 

2 - Walk away, lose the money, lesson learned.

 

There really isn't any in between.

Right, starting to realize that. Below someone was kind enough to answer my question of her paying for lawyer fees, which I now know is highly unlikely. Do you think based on the information I've provided (obviously there are a ton of variables) that it would be worth my money to hire a lawyer and pursue this? Or do you think I'll likely take the lesson learned and be empty handed regardless? 

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5 hours ago, pg1067 said:

 

First of all, when you refer to "quick deed," I assume you're talking about a quitclaim deed (there's no such thing as a "quick deed").  As far as how the deed was filled out, we obviously have no way of knowing because we haven't seen it.  However, the grantee (you and your girlfriend) doesn't typically sign a deed.  Typically, it is signed only by the seller.  It also sounds like you did all this without advice or assistance from an attorney or a realtor.  If you'd had proper advice, you never would have accepted a quitclaim deed.

 

 

 

I don't know.  It sounds to me like you (ex-) girlfriend is in possession of a deed that hasn't yet been recorded.  If that's right, as far as the rest of the world is concerned, neither of you owns the home, and the prior owner still owns it.  Moreover, you've accused her of altering the deed, which she has in her possession, and you don't even have a copy as far as I can tell.

 

 

 

Probably zero.  The general rule in litigation in the U.S. is that each side pays for its own attorney.  None of the usual exceptions apply to the situation you have described.

 

 

 

We have no way of knowing how people we don't know will testify.

 

The sooner you take action, the sooner your attorney can contact these persons and find out what they remember.

Thank you for replying and for the advice. Right, it is a quick claim deed I was referring to. It was our understanding that the quick claim deed was, in layman's terms, a temporary sort of deed or at least intent to give us ownership that we would mail in and then receive the "permanent" one. 

I figured I wouldn't be able to get her to pay my lawyer fees. And honestly I probably don't have it in me to make her anyways. She has 2 kids who I love dearly and wouldn't want them to suffer financially because of all this, but damn it I worked hard for this house, paid AT LEAST half of it and think I should own at least half of it one way or another. 

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6 minutes ago, aksmokejumper said:

Right, it is a quick claim deed I was referring to.

 

The term is quitclaim.  There's no such thing as a "quick deed" or a "quick claim deed."

 

 

20 minutes ago, aksmokejumper said:

Do you think based on the information I've provided (obviously there are a ton of variables) that it would be worth my money to hire a lawyer and pursue this?

 

It's not for strangers to decide what is and isn't worth your time and money.  Only you can make that decision, and it's a decision that should be made in consultation with an attorney.  I don't know you, but $55k is a lot of money just to walk away from.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, pg1067 said:

 

The term is quitclaim.  There's no such thing as a "quick deed" or a "quick claim deed."

 

 

 

It's not for strangers to decide what is and isn't worth your time and money.  Only you can make that decision, and it's a decision that should be made in consultation with an attorney.  I don't know you, but $55k is a lot of money just to walk away from.

 

 

Hmm, man I gotta find this thing and get you guys the name of the form I signed that was supposed to be mailed in. Do you know, should the bank have a copy of this form on record if a notary from there signed it? And if so could they provide me with a copy? Since that copy, would indeed still have both our signatures. 

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Notaries don't keep copies of documents they notarize.  All a notary does is sign a statement on the document certifying they witnessed the signing of the document - period.  A notary may or may not also keep a record that they witnessed the signing of a document by certain people on a certain date.  The notary merely proves the validity of the signatures, not the validity of the document itself.

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2 hours ago, aksmokejumper said:

Do you know, should the bank have a copy of this form on record if a notary from there signed it?

 

I agree that notaries do not normally keep copies of documents they notarize.  I can't completely rule out the possibility that some notaries do that.

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