If I was just recently divorced, how do I walk away leaving the house and mortgageto my ex-wife?

Asked on September 19, 2011 under Family Law, Virginia


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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Was there a property settlement or trial as to assets that dealt with property distribution that went along with the divorce decree?  And was it decided that the asset would be part of your ex wife's settlement?  The only way for you to get your name off the mortgage is to have her refinance the mortgage in to her name only.  Otherwise the mortgage lender will still consider you responsible for the loan.  I would not consider transferring the property legally (via any form of deed) until such time as the mortgage is refinanced.  Otherwise you have no leverage at all here.  If I misunderstood some of the points here as to the property please write back. Good luck to you.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If the house is in the ex-wife's name and she's the only on the mortgage, you simply walk away--with title and mortgage in her name, it's her home and therefore in her problem.

If the house and mortage is solely in your name, it's your house, and all consequences of walking away on the mortgage fall on you; your ex-wife has no liability.

If the house and mortgage are in both your names, if there is a default on the mortgage, the consequences (damage to credit; possible lawsuit by lender) fall on both of you. If you are in a better condition that your ex-wife to withstand the consequences, you can use that as leverage to get her to take over the house and mortgage from you (though her to take over the mortgage, she's likely have to refinance it, which may or may not be possible in this lending climate, depending on her income and assets).

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