I got a divorce back in 2013 and my ex was supposed to refinance the house into his name only. He hasn’t done that. What should I do?

I can’t get a home loan because my name is still on a loan for my ex-husband’s
house. He was supposed to get it refinanced according to our divorce decree but
hasn’t done it. What can I do?

Asked on March 31, 2017 under Family Law, Missouri


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You can try and take him back to court for violating a term of your divorce, if in fact his refinancing was a term of the settlement. However, if he can't refinance due to his financial situation, as oppssoed to simply not even trying to refinance, then for all practical purposes you are stuck, at least unless and until the property is sold. If your name is still on the deed, you may be able to force a sale by fiing a "partition" action (this is a legal remedy employed when co-owners of property cannot agree as to ownership matters). Since the property is a single family house, it can't be "partitioned" (i.e. divided) so it will be ordered to be sold. That having been said, you will need an attorney for this since such an action is complex and since he will first have to read the terms of your divorce settlement to determine what rights you still have in the property. You can also ask your attorney to try and see if the loan company wll accept a "novation" This is a tool that can be used to get a co-owner's name off of a mortgage. While this is only rarely allowed, it's still worth a try. A novation could be accomplished by your ex-spouse proving that they have paid the mortgage in full and on time without you. If that doesn't persuade the lender to remove your name, then it may allow a novation if your ex-spouse "buys" your release by making a substantial payment to reduce the outstanding principal mortgage balance.

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