Refinancing Changes Names On Mortgage Loan

Q: Two years ago I stupidly signed a quit claim deed, giving my half of our house to my ex-wife.

However, my name remains on the mortgage even though she is making the payments.

I now realize this was a mistake. It is even affecting my credit and my ability to rent an apartment.

How do I get my name off of the mortgage? And, would it be possible for me to undo the signing of the quitclaim deed to reclaim my half of the value of the house?

A: You can’t undo the transfer of the home to your ex-wife. If you signed and delivered a valid document, you can’t now come back and undo it. If you were not divorced when you signed over your half of the house to your ex-wife, did the divorce decree take into consideration your ownership of the house?

If you were already divorced, the transfer of your interest in the house is a gift to your ex-wife.

Some people mistakenly confuse their ability to transfer their interest in a home with their financial obligations under a mortgage and loan for a home. In some cases, homeowners believe that the term “title” to a home is the same thing as the mortgage to the home.

For the most part, when a person buys a home and gets financing for the purchase of the home, the person who bought the home is in title to the home and the lender has a mortgage that gives that lender the right to foreclose on the home if the homeowner fails to make payments under the mortgage.

While in some states the term “deed of trust” is used, the deed of trust is equivalent to a mortgage for most purposes and the homeowner is still in title to the home.

When the homeowner transfers title to the home and does not pay off the mortgage or deed of trust, the ownership of the home transfers but the old homeowner remains responsible under the original mortgage or deed of trust.

You transferred your ownership interest but remained on the mortgage or deed of trust. The only way you can remove your name from the mortgage or deed of trust is for your ex-wife to refinance the home and get a new loan in her name alone. You can attempt to contact the lender and have your name removed, but that rarely if ever works. Of course, if your ex-wife sells the home and pays off the lender, your name would finally be off the loan.

Your best bet is to work with your ex-wife and use any good will generated by the transfer of your interest in the home to her to convince her to refinance the loan and take you off the old mortgage.

Sept. 2, 2005.


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2 Responses to Refinancing Changes Names On Mortgage Loan

  1. L. says:

    Hi My then boyfriend and I bought a house 15 yrs ago and have been split 11yrs now but have remained good friends. About 2yrs ago we (still as friends) refinanced but now he has plans to marry and I was wondering if the Quit claim deed would save me any trouble w/ HIS EX in the present and the future should they divorce? (I have been living in and paying for the house since our seperation however I would not be able to refinance on my own)

  2. Diane Bertsch says:

    My ex and i divorced 4 yrs ago at which time the deed was put in my name and the I remortgaged and the loan is in my name but as part of divorce agreement she is to pay for the mortgage and has done so up until a month ago when i found a friend. Now he stopped making payments. There is nothing saying he is obligated to pay me but he has set a pressidence by doing so. Will the courts mandate him to continue paying.
    Please advise. I am on disabllity and cannot financially afford to pay it on my own and i guess at the time i signed a paper saying I could not sell it unless it was paid off and he has 1st right to buy it at that time.

    Thank you

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