I need to be removed from a joint loan that hasn’t been my responsibility since my divorce 12 years ago?

UPDATED: Oct 2, 2022

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I need to be removed from a joint loan that hasn’t been my responsibility since my divorce 12 years ago?

In our divorce papers it is stated that my ex-husband was to have the home refinanced within 6 months of our divorce, yet he has yet to do this. With him not doing this, the loan has been reported to my credit and has effected my credit ever since. What do I need to do now to get my name taken off of the loan?

Asked on August 15, 2019 under Family Law, South Carolina


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

You may not be able to. The lender made the loan based on the 2 of you being responsible for its repayment. Th fact is that your divorce decree was between you and your ex-husband; the bank was not a party to it so is not bound by its terms. At this point, you can go back to court and ask that your ex be made to at least attempt to refinance. However, if they cannot do so, they can ask the lender to allow what is called a "novation" to remove your name. While this is rarely allowed, it may be worth trying.  A novation could be accomplished by your ex-spouse proving that they have paid the mortgage without you. If they are current and have never been late with payments, the lender may allow them to remove your name from the mortgage. A lender may also allow a novation if your ex "buys" your release by making a substantial payment to reduce the principal mortgage balance.

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