Joint Property with Parents- Dispute with wife
I am married for past 5 years. Two years before I got married (and even before got introduced to my wife), I had purchased a flat in a different town from where I live. I had divorced my first wife by then and had no dues towards her. My father suggested joint ownership to reduce my burden and I agreed. He contributed the down payment of 8 lakhs. I sought a bank loan of 12 lakhs for the remaining purchase amount. The flat was registered as a joint property of my mother and I. My parents live in a different town as well and hence I rented the flat and collected all the rent for myself. After I got married, upon insistence of my wife, I prepaid the loan principle balance from my savings and closed it but continued to draw the rent for our use. The flat had frequent turnover of tenants and also had been vacant for extended time periods. My uncle (mother's brother) was handling the flat on my behalf including maintenance and finding new tenants. He either adjusted maintenance costs in the rent or my mother bore it from her savings. I hardly spent any. For the past year however, my mother was collecting the rent on the first house after it went vacant for a long period of time. She had borne the maintenance costs after the last tenant left. She therefore insisted on having a share of the rent since I had been collecting it for my use until then, I agreed to it but my wife is not happy and insists that since I paid the loan amount and the interest, only I am entitled to the rent. There was a nasty dispute and my mother who was saving all the rent amount until then sent me a lumpsum of Rs 50,000 as a gesture to return the rent collected till that date. Thereafter she continued to collect the rent with an assurance in good faith that she will keep sending me the money every now and then. My wife is not happy with this either and insists that she has no right on rent.
Parallely, post wedding I had invested in another house in the city I live in and registered it in joint name of me and my wife. I am having a loan of 50 lakhs on it whose interest and principal I am solely repaying. The house is rented out and my wife collects the entire rent amount for herself. Now she wants me to sell the first house and repay major part of the loan on the second home. She also wants a majority share in the proceeds of the sale of 1st home. Now I do not have a proper agreement on the ownership ratio with my parents since it was done in good faith (my relationship with parents has always been cordial). Also I would like to allow them 50% share since I have some moral duty towards their old age (they are 65 & 70 years old). My mother is against selling the flat as it is the only property (partly) in her name and there is some income from it (I do not financially support my parents and my father is still employed post retirement to support himself and my mother). But I managed to convince her to to sell it and put the proceeds into savings. She was not happy but concerned for my domestic peace, she agreed. However she did not want to do a distress sale and felt that there must be at least some profit in selling the house. So she urged her brother (my uncle handling the flat) to look for a good buyer and a profitable rate. The property market in that town (Nellore, AP) is down and am barely getting a nominal gain at current rates. Uncle suggested that I wait till the rate goes to Rs 29 lakhs for that flat so that there is a minimum guarantee of Rs 25 lakhs post negotiation. However my wife was not happy with the delay and suspects me of avoiding the sale. There has been frequent unpleasant domestic differences between us as a result. My mother is unhappy too and decided to withdraw her assent to sell the house given that there is no respect for her opinion on the property. I am not in a good financial position. My pay at job has plateaued for the past 3 years and there is no increment or performance bonuses. I have no savings at all. My wife has saved all her money in fixed deposits and used up my savings for loan repayment, home purchase and domestic expenses with my assent. I am in a dilemma now. My marriage is bleak and I have a two year old daughter whose welfare is my responsibility. I am unable to convince my mother or wife on the issue of that house. I am also running a risk of divorce litigation post which I will be in serious financial crunch (I have to repay the loan as well as support my wife and daughter -40% of my salary goes into loan EMI). I need legal help in deciding the best course of action regarding the house.
1. Can I sell the house without my mother's consent (and provide her 50% of the proceeds)?
2. Does my wife have a legal right on the entire house - can she enforce a ratio on the proceeds of sale?
3. Assuming I end up in a divorce, can she have legal right to enforce a sale of that house? In other words Does she have a legal ground to sue my parents over the rights of the 1st house?
4. My wife is not employed. Can she demand the complete ownership of the 2nd house with me bearing the loan repayment?
Your valuable opinion on the above questions will help me make a decision. Much appreciated.