What are my options for getting my name off the mortgage after my divorce?

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What are my options for getting my name off the mortgage after my divorce?

While my ex-husband and I were still married. I opened a new checking account in my name only on 9/28/15, I filed for divorce in Tulsa County on 10/2/15, took half the money out of our joint checking account and moved from Tulsa to Missouri on 10/3/15, my then-husband was making the mortgage payment out of our joint checking account and I paid nothing towards it to the present time, divorce was decreed 4/19/16. There is a divorce decree stating the house was awarded to him and I signed a Quit Claim Deed. However there was never a refinance on the mortgage to put the mortgage in his name only, so my credit report shows the loan with Bank of Oklahoma Mortgage, which skews my debt-to-income ratio. I am trying to pre-qualify for a loan and am seeking to find out my options for removing myself from the indebtedness of that mortgage.

Asked on September 9, 2016 under Family Law, Missouri

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Since the house was awarded to your husband and you signed off on ownership via the quitclaim deed, he must try and refinance the exisiting mortgage. The fact is that even though you are no longer a legal owner of the property you are still bound on the mortgage and responsible for it. Your divorce does not impact your signature on the mortgage note, which is a legal contract. However, should there be a loss incurred regarding it for which you are held responsible, he would legally be responsible for indemnifying you (i.e. reimbursing you for your losses). If for some reason he is unable to refinance, he could try to get a what is called a "novation". This involves asking the lender to remove your name from the mortgage. From a practical standpoint this is rarely allowed but it is still worth a try. A novation could be accomplished by your ex-husband paying the mortgage on his own for a period of time generally (8-12 months; which he has already done), then if he is current, has no late payments, and can prove that he was the only one paying the mortgage, your lender may allow your name to be removed. Also, he may be able to obtain a novation if he "buys" your release by making a substantial payment to reduce the outstanding mortgage balance. At this point, you should consult directly with a divorce attorney in your area for further advise.


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