If no lender will refinance my mortgage, can a judge force me to sell my home?

I’ve been divorced aver 5 years. In the divorce my ex-wife quick deeded me the home and in the decree it stated that I would refinance the home. It did not specify a time limit or deadline. It’s taken years to repair my credit but it is still not good enough to refinance the home. I have now received a letter from a lawyer threatning to take me back to court to force a refinance.

Asked on August 7, 2018 under Family Law, Connecticut


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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless you can refinance the home or otherwise get your ex-wife's name off of the mortgage, then a judge can force a sale of the house. A divorce decree constitutes a binding court order and its terms must be complied with. What you could try is somethig known as a "novation" While tyically not granted, it may be worth a try. In a novation, your lender would agree to have your ex-wife's name removed from the mortgage if you can prove that you have paid the mortgage without her help. If your payments are current and you have never been late with them, you may be allow to remove her name. The lender may also allow a novation if you "buy" her release by making a substantial payment to reduce the principal balance. What you now may want to do is to consult directly with a real estate attorney in your area who can best advise you further.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Yes, a judge can. The clear intention of the divorce decree was that your wife would be removed from the loan--that was the purpose of refinancing. She has a right under that decree to be removed. If you cannot refinance and remove her that way, you can be forced to sell the home if that is the only way to remove her.

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