How can we get my husband’s name off of his ex-wife’s mortgage?

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How can we get my husband’s name off of his ex-wife’s mortgage?

When my husband divorced his first wife they owned 2 houses in 2 different states. One of the houses was sold and the proceeds were split. The other house went to his ex-wife and kids. Although his name was removed from the deed, his name remains on the mortgage as an oversight. She has been making the mortgage payments since the divorce as ordered in the divorce agreement. How do we get his name off that mortgage?

Asked on October 26, 2011 under Family Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The only way to get a name off is to either refinance the property or ask the bank for a "novation". A novation is where the original loan stays in place but one of the mortgagor's names is removed by the lender. However, there are strict requirements for this and typically it is granted in only very limited circumstances. The fact is that from a lender's perspective, the more borrowers it can look to for repayment the better.

That having been said, although novations are only rarely allowed, it is still worth trying. This could be accomplished by your husband's ex-wife showing that she has paid the mortgage without your husband; the longer the better. As long as she is current with the payments and has never been late in making them, the lender may allow her to remove your husband's name from the mortgage without her having to refinance.  A novation may also be obtained if she "buys" his release by making a substantial payment to reduce the mortgage balance (and assuming that she would be willing and able to do so).


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