About me remaining in the home after divorce

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About me remaining in the home after divorce

My ex left 19 years ago; I remarried 2 years later. I could not buy his part of the house that I was living in. He wanted to refinance it and I told him not too but since I could not buy him out I signed to allow him to refinance and he was supposed to put my name back on it but did not. He also took out a second mortgage on it without me knowing it. I have remained in the house for the whole 38 years since it’s been built. He has not paid any payments on it for the past 15 months. And he says the bank is taking it or he has to sell it and I am on very low disability and have no where to go. What are my legal rights if any?

Asked on June 11, 2019 under Family Law, North Carolina

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

This is not a divorce issue--it is a foreclosure issue. If the bank is not paid, the bank can foreclose on the home; that is their right when they are not paid. That you have nowhere else to go has no bearing whatsoever on their right to foreclose on property when their loan is not paid.
IF your divorce decree or settlement stated that your ex has to make the payments on the house and let you live there, you can take legal action against your ex (such as suing him for "breach of contract" for not honoring a divorce settlement, which is an agreement or contract) to make him pay, but if no one (either he or you) ends up paying the default on the mortgage prior to the foreclosure, the bank will be able to take the him. So suing him to enforce his obligations may get you compensation, but at this point, might not result in getting money from him fast enough as to avoid foreclosure. (And, of course, if he is broke or insolvent, you won't as a practical matter get any money from him even if you are legally entitled to it, since winning a court case does not make money appear where there is none.)
If there is nothing in the divorce obligating him to pay so you can live in this house, then he had no requirement to do so and could simply legally stop paying.
You apparently have lived there for months (at least) without paying rent or a mortgage; while being forced out would be very unfortunate, you may wish to consider that by living for months rent- or mortgage-free, you have already received a benefit most people will never get.


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