If I am on the mortgage but not the title, amI responsible for payments if my husband walks away from the house?

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If I am on the mortgage but not the title, amI responsible for payments if my husband walks away from the house?

I am in a second marriage and  found that the house and title of our home is in my husband’s name only. But when we remortgaged a few years ago, that mortgage contains my name. Does this mean that I am legally responsible for payment on this house even though the title/house is not in my name? I have no claim on the house but am responsible for the mortgage? Is this house legally mine also? My husband is thinking of walking away from the house if we cannot get an adjusted payment, I want to know where that puts me legally, as he will not allow me any input.

Asked on August 6, 2010 under Real Estate Law, Michigan

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should consult with a lawyer IMMEDIATELY. You are, on paper, in a bad position: in answer to your question, if you are a signer of a mortgage, you are responsible for that mortgage, and it is possible to be responsible for paying a loan, including a mortgage, where you do not own the thing bought by the loan, such as a house. So yes, you could be responsible for paying the mortgage even without being on home's title. However, if you were tricked into signing on the mortgage, such as by your husband telling you that you would be on the title, it may be the case that you could rescind the mortgage as to yourself for fraud, or at least have a claim against your husband. It's also possible that a court, such as a family law court in a divorce, would use its equitable powers to give you some interest in the home or some additonal money.

Note: if you knowingly accepted this state of affairs--took responsibility for the mortgage while knowing--or while you reasonably should have known--that you did not have title or ownership, you might not have any recourse.

Given what is at stake, you should speak with an attorney immediately, to understand your rights.


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