How to get out of co-owning house with angry daughter

NeverEndingProblemsMarch 18, 2012

I will call her Sue. The house was suppose to be mine but Mom left it to the both of us. Sue is 18 and blames me for everything that is wrong in her life. I've tried wracking my brain to figure out how to get out of this situation.

She sleeps all day and plays video games all night. She won't lift a finger to help with chores. I pay all the bills including her food.

She has been ranting at me for 30 minutes now basically about what an idiot I am. I have to work here in this house and doing that is difficult as unhappiness permeates all around me and makes concentrating hard.

I thought about giving my half of the house to my sister, but why would she want that? Can I give it to my daughter even if she doesn't want it? I've offered up the solution that I give her the house and move to an apartment and then she can pay all the bills and crazy taxes. That's when she gets nice again but it is temporary. Sometimes I just want to kill myself- I know that's an awful thing to say but I am tired.

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It's generally considered bad form to mention thoughts of suicide in your first post. However, if you mean it, stop everything else you're doing or thinking right now and get some help with it. The rest can wait.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 12:50AM
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Sorry about the bad form. I see what you mean but the rest can not wait. It is what is creating problems. I feel that I am stuck in a bad situation. I want to find a way out not only so that I can be happy again but so that Sue can be happy. It is a never ending cycle of blame and we are both miserable.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 1:06AM
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"....stuck in a bad situation."

Nobody's ever "stuck". However people certainly do resist change or doing inconvenient or uncomfortable things. It does appear your solution will likely be inconvenient and uncomfortable. Your relationship with your daughter may or may not survive it.

If you can't create a mutually satisfactory living situation with your daughter then sell the house, split the proceeds (AFTER expenses) and live separately. In practical terms, it would be very similar to a property division in a divorce.

From what you wrote, I am assuming the house came to you two by bequest in your mother's estate. If so, it was foolish of your mother to leave it in equal unencumbered shares when one of the parties is 18 or less but, if that's what you've got and you can't change it, that's what you'll have to deal with. I would check your mother's estate documents seeking information that may indicate you are at least controlling owner of the bequest. Another tactic could be to keep evidence of maintenance and/or capital and/or tax payments you've made personally and by them seek to demonstrate increased equitable interest -- therefore majority interest -- in the property thereby entitling you to sell it even without daughter's consent. You will likely have to involve a lawyer and the court to accomplish this.

The only other alternative would be reaching a mutual agreement with your daughter to sell or simply bail out unilaterally without being compensated. If you choose to do that, be sure your name gets removed from the title so you are no longer liable for taxes or expenses. From what you've written, I don't see a solution without expense and annoyance one way or another but it certainly can be done.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 9:31AM
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Is she your only child?

First, take a deep breath & realize that she is 18... immature and like a lot of young people, feels ENTITLED. I used to think it was the parenting that created thsse entitled children but the more kids I see out there, having an attitude of "deserving" what parents had to work hard for... I am beginning to think it is a societal epidemic. (not to say parenting did not contribute to it, but let's be honest.... how many of us would have gotten spanked or worse if we did some of the things kids today get away with? I would never have talked back to my parents... not so much for fear of being beaten but becasue I knew it was WRONG. Of course, I never tried it so can't say with 100% accuracy if they wouldn't have spanked me. I never wanted to find out. Kids today push the envelope & have been told how to report it to the police or CPS if they are ever put in fear of bodily harm.)

Anyway, one solution is to stop buying her groceries. I may be too blunt here, but if you tolerate a half hour of her demeaning you and telling you what an idiot you are, then I would have to say that she may be right about one thing, that you are somewhat to blame for what's gone wrong in her life. Now, before you take that the wrong way, let me explain what I mean. Sometimes, we as parents want more for our children than we had...we want them to suffer less, have more, do better in life. In the process, we "protect" them from failure and disappointment which is something they MUST experience to appreciate achievement, which is what makes them feel good about themselves. Society has stepped in and in some ways, taken that away from children by giving every kid on a team a trophy or not keeping score because the losers might feel bad about losing. I hear people say that young people shouldn't have to work full time AND go to school/college and that education is more important than work experience. Of course, I disagree but that's another subject for another day. My point is, if you are providing food, paying all the bills & tolerating her barage of insults... then THAT might be part of the problem. Stop providing them.. give her nothing. Hand her a bill for her half of the bills that she uses... utilities, cable, phone, etc. Calmly tell her that if she wants to be treated like an adult, the first thing she needs to do is start behaving like an adult and that means to provide for herself. That's a tough stance to take and in most cases with an 18 year old, I wouldn't suggest being so harsh but any 18 year old that feels it's okay to treat her mother (that is still supporting her) like that... well, it tends to make me believe she has treated you poorly for a long time and you accepted it for whatever reason. She wouldn't treat you this way if you don't tolerate it.

If you are being abused (and verbal abuse is still abuse) and you live there & work there, you can get her out by filing a restraining order to have her removed. That is a bit extreme but if you leave, she will not pay the bills and the house will be lost. If she leaves (even through a restraining order) and is half owner of the house, you can refinance and buy her out of her half. Before you do something like that, check with the laws in your state or consult an attorney.

That's just my opinion based on the info available.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2012 at 3:58PM
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I'm only going to address the house ownership issue, because while the circumstances were a little different, we were in a similar situation a few years back (owning a property with someone we didn't want to be financially associated with).

Assuming your daughter isn't willing (or able) to buy our your share, and that you aren't financially able to buy her out... What you need to do is sit down with your lawyer. We were told that we could 'sue for partition'--which meant that eventually, a judge issue an order that the house be sold, and the procedes divided. In our case, it didn't need go that far, thank heavens.

But you REALLY need to discuss this with a lawyer in your jurisdiction--he/she will be able to tell you what your rights and options are, and what the cost is likely to be. I do strongly advise, that you do that sooner rather than later, there's nothing on earth more wearing and depressing than having this kind of 'fight' with a family member. The sooner you can get out from under this joint financial obligation, the sooner you'll find peace.

    Bookmark   March 20, 2012 at 2:44PM
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"Sue is 18 and blames me for everything that is wrong in her life. She won't lift a finger to help with chores. I pay all the bills including her food. She has been ranting at me for 30 minutes now basically about what an idiot I am."

WHY are you putting up with this?

Get a lawyer and sell the house already. In the meantime, start tracking (writing down) what you have spent for any and all expenses she has incurred since she turned 18 so you can take it out of the sales proceeds.

No human should have to put up with this type of abuse. Let your daughter use her share of the money to get her own apt. Perhaps a little time spent with non family members (rugs that can't be walked on) will help her change her tune.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:10AM
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