Q: I own a condominium. The property is worth anywhere from $110,000 to $119,000, but I owe $125,000 on it.
I’m the only person on the loan but the property is deeded to my ex-wife and me as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. I want to take possession of the property solely so that I can sell it and clear it off my credit history. It is dragging down my credit report because it is a burden to my debt-to-income ratio.
Unfortunately, I am unable to move ahead with this plan because my ex-wife is attached to the property emotionally and will not agree to let me sell it. I will gladly give her sole possession of the property if she wants to refinance it into her name but she refuses. She wants to have her cake and eat it too.
She doesn’t reside in the property. It is being rented to a friend of hers below market value. Is it possible to get a court order to have her refinance the condo into her name only? And if she is unable to refinance the property for any reason within a certain amount of time, does she sacrifice her right to the deed?
A: Please talk to your divorce attorney. The issue of this property should have been settled in your divorce agreement. If your ex-wife was given half of the property as part of the settlement, then you will have to buy her out or risk letting the property fall into foreclosure, hurting your credit score and hers.
If the tenant is paying a below market rent for the property, you might insist that your ex-wife make up the difference or rent the property out to a tenant that will pay market rent. If your tenant doesn’t pay enough to cover the costs of the property, is your ex-wife chipping in to pay the difference? If she isn’t and won’t cooperate, your only option may be to get the lawyers involved again.
However, you might want to persuade your ex-wife that paying the lawyers money that could otherwise go to paying for the expenses of the home would not be the best course of action. It’s in both of your interests to settle this amicably. Litigation should be your last resort.
Hopefully, your ex-wife will agree to a meeting with you or your attorney to discuss the facts and your proposal for dealing with this property. It’s past time for you and her to move on.
March 13, 2009