If divorce papers say you are to continue to pay the mortgage on the home once divorced but your name is not on the deed, are you still responsible for paying the mortgage?

When my friend became divorced her ex-husband left her with the single-wide mobile home and 2 kids. In the divorce papers, it states she is to continue paying the mortgage even though it is in his name and her name is nowhere on the loan or deed to the property. Her home is in need of major repair and would probably be deemed uninhabitable if the inspector was sent out to see it. She is facing eviction in 2 months. What type of legal action would be brought against her if she stopped paying the mortgage? What type of lawyer would be able to help in this situation?

Asked on October 28, 2017 under Real Estate Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your friend is still responsible for paying the mortgage even though her name is not on the deed, because she was ordered to do so in the divorce. Being ordered to pay, for example, a $1,000/month mortgage in your divorce is no different than being ordered to pay your ex an extra $1,000/month in support or alimony (or, for that matter, being ordered to pay for his health insurance) and is equally enforceable. If your friend fails to pay, her ex could bring a legal action to hold her in "contempt of court" for failing to abide by the divorce order or settlement, which could result in her being fined and *possibly* facing jail time if she continues to not obey. And/or the ex could seek a court order allowing her wages to be garnished to make up any arrears or shortfalls in payment.


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