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Cost of repairs/additions in a co-owned home (ex-spouse)

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  • Cost of repairs/additions in a co-owned home (ex-spouse)

    I'm not sure which forum this belongs in, here or with family law, so please forgive the double post.

    Background: I own a home with my ex-wife. We were divorced just over 2 years ago, and at the time, the home was placed on the market, sat for 10 months, and just wouldn't sell for any less than a catastrophic loss, so it was leased. The divorce decree states that we each own 50% of the home and property.

    We're getting ready to put it back on the market when the renters move out, and my ex-wife recently went out to the house with her family and planted sod and repaired sprinklers. The cost of materials and "paying helpers" was over $1000, which isn't horrible, but I had estimates to have the job done professionally for only around $1250, and actually had another contractor scheduled to come out and estimate today which could possibly have been less as I was referred to him by other customers. I had told her when she brought up the idea that I would prefer to know that it was done correctly by professionals, in addition to the fact that, though she asked if I would pay half for her to have it done, I never agreed to it as she never gave any kind of estimation of what it would cost to "do it ourselves." She asked, we discussed - me asking her if they had the necessary tools or knowledge, how much would it cost, etc. I then asked a few days later, after sending her an estimate from one contractor that I had look at it last year, and asked again if they had any plan or idea what she was wanting to do... was told "we're looking into it" - then 3 days later I get an email saying it's done and cost over 1K.

    The issue: I have no issue paying for half of the materials that they used, sod, wiring, mulch, etc. However, they spent $150 buying new and nice brand garden tools ($30 common shovels and rakes), tools which they likely already had, or could have been given to them if she had let me know they were needed - and I'm sure they bought because they will last far beyond this one-time job. They also spent $200 paying (feeding her 5 family members) the "help" - this one may be a personal prejudice, as part of the reason I didn't really want her family doing it is that I've seen their work, it's very sloppy and often has to be redone by professionals. In addition, my own family spent several weekends cleaning the home, pressure washing, shampooing carpets, etc after she left it a mess when she moved out and it was put on the market the first time around, and she never paid a dime for that.

    The question: Am I obligated to pay for all portions of the cost that she sent me if I didn't agree to them (wasn't even notified of amount being paid, or what was being paid for) beforehand? It seems to me that buying new tools that clearly aren't for one-time use, and paying your family to do the job to the point that it costs nearly the same as professionals isn't right. I would like to simply return to her an itemized list of what I will pay half for, which will include all of the essential materials etc and likely be around 800. My concern is that in 2 months the renters move out and at that point we are responsible for the mortgage, which I usually write the check for, and she pays me her half... I know that she will attempt to hold the amount "hostage" and simply take it out of what she owes for the mortgage if I refuse to pay it now. What is my recourse, am I stuck simply paying half of what she had done?

  • #2
    Re: Cost of repairs/additions in a co-owned home (ex-spouse)

    Although it is a question on construction and renovation, the root issue has to do with who pays in a shared property issue. It appears that would be best addressed in the Family Law section where the second thread was posted here:

    As such, I'm going to go ahead and close this thread.
    "If it ain't in writing, it never happened."
    "A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."
    "You can never make the same mistake twice, because the second time you make it, it's not a mistake, but a CHOICE."


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