Can a person legally stop payments on a home mortgage?

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Can a person legally stop payments on a home mortgage?

My son and his ex-wife built an expensive home 11 years ago. They divorced 4 years ago. My son lost his job 3 years ago and was unemployed for 18 months. He now has a job which pays minimum wage. He and his ex-wife have tried to sell the home without success. They continue to make payments on the mortgage and for upkeep of the property. Can my son relinquish all rights to the property and no longer pay for the mortgage and upkeep? I am contacting you on his behalf since he is reluctant to seek legal aid.

Asked on July 30, 2012 under Real Estate Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

He can only legally stop making payments when he sells and his mortgage is satisfied (paid off).  Is it possible for them to refinance the mortgage under any of the new laws?  He needs to check that out.  Or consider a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure (where you would give the property back to the bank) but make sure that the bank waives any deficiency. His ex has to be on board with this or he has to start an action for "partition" to have the house sold. Good luck.


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