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Divorce & Mortgage Liability

Mark Cappel
UpdatedApr 15, 2024

Am I liable for my ex-husband's mortgage?

In 1991 I signed a 5 year balloon mortgage with my then husband, which was I believe refinanced every five years from then, so 1997, 2002, and 2007. I divorced him in 2002. The loan was refinanced in 2007 with out my notice, signature, consent, or appearance. On the 2007 documents, my name is no where present as the grantor. Somewhere before the last refinance the manufactured home went into foreclosure, the terms of the loan were changed, such as interest rate and the amount of the loan. When the home went into default in 2007, I was not notified. Here is the problem: The manufactured home is now in foreclosure again. The bank is coming after me for the remainder of the loan. The exhibits they provided in the complain were the *2002* loan documents and a 2007 UCC financing statement, and nothing else. This is the information I have pieced together: 1. I had NOTHING to do with the 2007 loan and the verbiage used in the loan was "You are entering a new transaction..." It is literally the first sentence on the right to cancel, which I of course never received. 2. All documents, including bank statements do not contain my name after 2002. 3. When I called the bank, they denied information to me and stated I was not on the loan. 4. The terms of the loan did change from 2002 to 2007. There is more, but I will stop, but finally, on the UCC financing statement filed in 2007 my ex-husband is the only name on that document.

Your main question is whether you are liable for your ex-husband’s mortgage. Since he refinanced the original loan that was taken out in both of your names into a loan in only his name, I cannot understand why the creditor claims you are still liable for the debt. The fact you were on the original loan should not be an issue, as the new agreement signed by your ex-husband when he refinanced should supersede the old agreement to which you were a party. Even if your ex-husband refinanced with the same company, the old loan agreement no longer applies if he signed a new contract.

To learn more about refinance loans in general, which may provide some clarification in your present situation, I invite you to visit the mortgage refinancing page. You can also read more about the foreclosure process.

This creditor may call you demanding payment simply because your ex-husband is not paying and they are trying to collect on the debt. While lenders are not generally allowed to disclose information about delinquent obligations to third parties, the creditor may have your information from when you were on the loan and may be contacting you as a last-ditch effort to secure payment. If you have not already done so, you may wish to contact the lender directly to explain that you are not liable for your ex-husband’s new mortgage, and that it needs to stop contacting you seeking payment. You can call the creditor to convey this message, but you should also send a letter to the same effect so that you have documentation of the fact that you put the lender on notice that you do not believe that you are responsible for the mortgage. I recommend sending your letter via certified mail, return receipt requested, so that you have proof that it was delivered.

In addition to the above, I strongly encourage you to consult with an experienced attorney in your state to assist you in determining if you have any liability for the payment of this debt. An attorney should be able to communicate with the lender regarding your claim that you are not liable for the debt, especially if you find that the lender is unwilling to listen to you, or if the lender escalates the matter by referring the account to an attorney for collection.

Your attorney can also represent you in court if the creditor decides to pursue legal action against you. I know that retaining an attorney can be expensive; however, given the amount of money you stand to lose if the lender continues to pursue you for the payment of this debt, it would probably be money well spent.

I hope this information helps you Find. Learn & Save.



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LLoans, Jun, 2010
I recently came across your post and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that it caught my interest and you've provided informative points. I will visit this blog often. Thank you,
MMickey, Mar, 2011
My husband refinanced the mortgage against our primary residence--I deeded my interest to him several years prior. The mortgage was in both our names and I did not execute any documents to facilitate this transaction. Not oly did this mortgage purport to pay off the first mortgage, the bank took out equity which was used soley by my husband to purchase a house in another state. As he has lost meaningful and viable employment, he cannot pay his mortgage and the primary residence is in foreclosure. The question becomes, is the mortgage null and void based on thebank's failure to procure my signature on the note and mortgage documents? I maintain that although the paying off of the first mortgage may be perceived as a benefit, I disagree and I would have never consented to it.
BBill, Mar, 2011
Consult with a lawyer in your state who has civil litigation experience, or family law experience if you plan to file for divorce. Your question comes down to two issues, in my humble opinion. 1. Did the original mortgage require both spouses to sign off on an early payoff? 2. How has your state's statute law or case law decided the issue you described?

In California and Nevada, for example, the spouse not on the mortgage needs to sign a waiver-like document that states they consent to the other spouse's signing the mortgage.

BBill, Apr, 2010
Why did you not do a quit-claim deed while your ex-spouse was alive to put your house in your name only? Your divorce attorney should be chastised for overlooking a very simple and inexpensive act that would have clarified the ownership of your property. Regardless, I do not see it likely that a creditor will take the action you suggest. See my comment dated August 3, 2009 above to another reader with a similar question.
SStella Mary, Apr, 2010
What if my Ex is still on my deed, he just died and left lots of debt, including a house with 304K debt remaining. Will/can his bank come after my home, though it was awarded to me in the divorce?
BBill, Sep, 2009
You or your attorney who represented you in the divorce needs to convince your ex-spouse to refinance the vehicle in his name only. It is surprising that your attorney didn't insist on this as a condition of the divorce settlement.
DDennis Williams, Sep, 2009
My ex-spouse was rewarded a vehicle in divorce that is in my name and when the payments are not made; what can I do to protect my credit?
BBill, Aug, 2009
When a person passes away, the decedent's debts do not pass to a spouse, children, or anyone else automatically. Debts incurred by an individual are owed solely by that individual. If a person dies before his/her debt is repaid, then the creditor can attempt to collect the debt from the individual's estate, meaning that the debt would be paid before any money or other assets are passed to his/her heirs. However, if the person dies without sufficient assets to pay off the debt, then the debt is uncollectible and the creditor will likely write it off its books. The only way I can envision a surviving spouse would be liable for a debt would be if the surviving spouse had co-signed the loan or other contracts that made them legally responsible. Frequently, creditors will contact the surviving relatives of a recently deceased debtor to try to convince them to pay the debt owed by their late relative, despite the fact that the relatives are not liable. Do not believe any legal advice from a debt collector -- the advice is usually wrong and is always self-serving.
DD Williams, Aug, 2009
My husband has taken out a loan in his name only, if he dies does the loan "die" with him or am i liable to pay that loan?