Long after your divorce’s property division, you remember that your name is still on the deed and mortgage to your old home. It may be important to remove your name from title in order to buy a new home or get credit.
Getting A Court Order
One way to remove your name from title is to go back to the family law judge, and ask for an order requiring that your name be removed from the deed and mortgage. However, to remove your name from title, your ex-spouse will have to refinance the property.
A controlling issue in these types of cases is whether your spouse has the ability to refinance. If your spouse has bad credit, is unemployed, or gets turned down for a loan, it will be hard to force your ex to do something that can’t be done.
However, if your ex-spouse has the ability to remove your name off the mortgage, but has never bothered to, a court order could work. However, you whenever you file for an order in court, you are going to incur attorney’s fees and costs, and that could get expensive.
I’ve written about real estate and property divisions before. Unless your marital settlement agreement or final divorce decree is clear, there may not be any choice but to run back to court for an order.
However, if your name is still on title, your ex-spouse can’t sell the home unless you sign the deed over to her or a new buyer. Additionally, the home cannot be further mortgaged unless you sign on the mortgage papers too.
Selling the Home
If you and your ex agree to sell the property, the sale will usually require the payoff of the existing mortgage with your name on it. That would take your name off the loan and ownership of the home. The same is true if your ex refinances: a new loan should pay off the old mortgage, and a satisfaction of mortgage will be recorded.
There are other problems in a property division in which your name is still on title. In the even that your ex-spouse does not pay the mortgage timely, your own credit will suffer the late notices.
Additionally, if someone is hurt visiting your old home, that person will sue the record title owners for their damages. If your name is on title as an owner, you could be sued. Having liability insurance may be in order, which requires talking to an insurance agent.
My Florida Bar Journal article on property is here.