Lost House in Divorce...Get It Out of My Name?

A caller asks Dave how to get a name off the mortgage payment in the middle of a divorce.

QUESTION: Tommy’s sister-in-law filed for divorce recently.  Her husband is keeping the house, but his name is not on the mortgage in any way.  The judge said he can keep the house as long as he doesn’t fall more than two months behind on payments.  Is there anything Tommy’s sister-in-law can do to get the house taken out of her name?

ANSWER: She is stuck with this on her credit.  The ownership of the house is in both names, but the debt is solely in her name.  She has no legal recourse to get the house taken out of her name.  The only thing she can do is force the sale of the house if he falls two months or more behind on house payments.

She could seek an appeal or, sometime down the road, she could see if he’d be willing to refinance the house into his name.  In a divorce, you should always force the sale of the house or force a refinance.  When one spouse is living in the house, trying to make the payments, but the other spouse is liable for the mortgage, it will only lead to more problems.