Divorces Effect On Home Ownership
Ask the Real Estate Lawyer: Real Estate Law Q&A
REM #LAW 741
By Ilyce R. Glink and Samuel J. Tamkin
Summary: When a divorce occurs, several things
need to be dealt with concerning the home owned by both parties. Ilyce and Sam
help a reader sort through the issues she has with the title of a home and its
Q: I am divorced and own a small home in Blue Ridge, GA. My ex-husband fled
approximately one year ago and cannot be found.
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The court awarded me our house. I am trying to get his name off of the existing
mortgage. How do I do this without paying off the existing mortgage?
A: There are two important issues you need to separate: Ownership of the property
and the mortgage that a lender gave to you and your husband. The most important
thing for you to do first is to be sure your ex-husband’s name is off
of the title to the property.
When you purchased the home, you and your husband took title jointly. Now that
you are divorced and the court awarded you title to the home, you may need to
have the court go further and have a deed issued by the court conveying your
ex-husband’s interest in the home to you. Once you have the court issue
the deed, the home will be all yours.
As far as the mortgage is concerned, there were many documents that you and
your ex-husband signed when you received a loan from the bank. All of these
documents held you and your ex-husband jointly liable for the repayment of the
loan that the bank gave you. It is your ex-husband who should want you to refinance
the debt and take his name off the loan. From your perspective, if the rate
on your loan is better that what you can get in the marketplace today, you should
keep the loan as long as possible.
When the rate in the marketplace is lower than the rate you currently have,
then at that time you should refinance the loan – you’ll benefit
from the lower interest rates and his name would no longer be on the mortgage
to the home.
But as long as you get the title transferred to your name only, it doesn’t
matter that his name is on the mortgage.
Samuel J. Tamkin is a Chicago-based real estate attorney. Ilyce
R. Glink’s latest book is 50 Simple Steps You Can Take To Sell Your
Home Faster and For More Money In Any Market. If you have questions for
them, write: Real Estate Matters Syndicate, PO Box 366, Glencoe, IL 60022
or contact them through Ilyce’s website www.thinkglink.com