After separation, who is responsible for mortgage payments?

My wife and I have been separated (not legally) 4 years. She has continued to live in the house we jointly. Both our names are on the mortgage. She had been making all mortgage payments. I recently learned that she stopped making payments 8 months ago and the house is scheduled for foreclosure. What are my legal responsibilities regarding mortgage payments? What affect would filing for divorce have on the scheduled foreclosure auction? Can divorcing prevent or postpone foreclosure?

Asked on September 16, 2010 under Family Law, Oregon

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Technically both of you are responsible for the mortgage payments until the house is refinanced in to one name or sold.  The bank or mortgage company is not a party to your separation or divorce agreement and is not bound by it, meaning that they can come after both of you for payments and for the deficiency judgement should there be one (a deficiency judgement is when the house sells for less than the amount on the mortgage and there is money owed to the bank).  You situation is not the best.  You should seek help from an attorney in your are as soon as possible as to what you can do at this stage to either bring it current or modify the mortgage or give the bank a deed in lieu of foreclosure.  Good luck.


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