If my ex-wife was supposed to refinance and remove me from the mortgagebut still hasn’t, what can be done?

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If my ex-wife was supposed to refinance and remove me from the mortgagebut still hasn’t, what can be done?

I was divorced 10 months ago (filed no-fault), and my ex-wife was instructed by the courts to refinance the house and have me completely removed from mortgage and deed within 4 months. She had requested (informally) that I let her wait until the divorce was finalized (6 months ago) so she wouldn’t have to change her name on the deed twice; I agreed. She still has not completed the task. Is there anything legally that can be done to make this happen?

Asked on July 3, 2011 under Family Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Technically she is in contempt of the court order directing her to refinance the mortgage. However in this economy as long as she has made a good faith attempt to refinance, as a practical matter there is nothing that the court will do.  However, should there be a loss incurred for which you are held responsible, she would legally be responsible for indemnifying you (i.e. reimbursing you for your losses).  Additionally, she must continue to try and refinance.

One other possibility is that she could try to get a what is called a "novation". This involves asking your lender to remove your name from the mortgage.  From a practical standpoint this is rarely allowed but it is worth a try. A novation could be accomplished by your ex-wife paying the mortgage for a period of time generally (8-12 months), then if she is current, has no late payments, and can prove that she was the only one paying the mortgage, your lender may allow your name to be removed.  Also, she may be able to obtain a novation if she "buys" your release by making a substantial payment to reduce the outstanding mortgage balance. 


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