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How can I remove myself from a home loan my ex does not pay mortgage payments on anymore and I do not live in?

Boise, ID |

I recently found out my ex husband has not been paying the mortgage on a house we bought when we were married. I have not lived there in over a year and can not afford the payments. He refuses to give me any information and has threatened me if I went to talk to the lender whom I don't know who they are now. The mortgage was sold to different lender. I need to know what my rights are or how I can get my name off this mortgage. He is unable to refinance and seems to have given up. I am afraid it will go into foreclosure.

Attorney Answers 3


The lender will foreclose and your name will be off the loan but unless you pay they will not remove the debt. You should look at the recorded documents at the county level online and you should be able to find out who is the beneficiary of the deed of trust or mortgage. You could offer a deed in lieu of foreclosure but that is a discussion you will need to have with the lender and trustee.
Good Luck

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I agree with the recommendation from the previous lawyer's answer that you check with the county recorder and attempt to contact the beneficiary of the deed of trust. You also stated that your ex husband "threatened" you. What did he threaten you about? If your name is on the loan, then you have a right to contact the lender to protect yourself.

Additionally, what does the divorce decree say? Was your ex-husband ordered to remove you from the loan? If so, was the order specific? For example, does it state that he has a specific amount of time to remove your name from the mortgage?

If not, you will probably waste time and money if you hire a lawyer and charge him with contempt. While you didn't ask about contempt, it could be a smart move to get your name off of the loan under the right facts and circumstances. But you stated that your ex-husband "is unable to refinance." To prove contempt, you must prove that he is able to comply with the order and that he "willfully" did not comply. Based upon what you've already stated about him being "unable to refinance," filing contempt against him to remove you from the loan would likely fail because of his inability to comply with the order, assuming that you even have a clear and unambiguous order to base a contempt action upon.

A good divorce decree would contain a rather short time frame for you both to fulfill your obligations under it. But even if you have a good judgment and decree of divorce with specific time frames to comply with the orders within it, you each must have the ability to comply with those orders. If you were in a situation where you were obligated to perform an action based upon a court's order, but you did not fulfill your obligation because you did not have the ability to, you would probably think it unfair that you could be found guilty of contempt. That is the reasoning for the law as it is written, although it can be detrimental to one of the parties.

Assuming that this situation damages your credit rating, you can also place remarks on your credit reports explaining why you have a negative item. The credit reporting agencies usually provide you with very limited space to place your explanation, so something like: "Loan was ex-husband's responsibility per divorce decree" may help potential creditors understand why the negative items exist on your report.
Good luck in negotiating with the lender.

Any opinions expressed on by William J. O'Connor of the firm O'Connor Law, PLLC are not intended to be used as legal advice for readers to follow. The answers given on this board are general in nature, not specific. They in no way equate to advice that can be gained by consulting with a lawyer person to person, with full disclosure by the client of the facts and circumstances involved with their individual situations, and with meaningful discussions between client and lawyer. Further, answers to questions on this board are not intended to establish an attorney/client relationship; but rather, they are intended to provide general legal guidance and to demonstrate to the askers and readers alike that a true attorney/client relationship is unmistakably the best and only way to gain true meaningful legal guidance and representation.

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Your options are very limited. There is no way to voluntarily and unilaterally "remove" yourself from the mortgage. If you have quitclaimed your interest in the collateral, you have compromised your rights. One wonders why this issue was not addressed in your divorce. If you were represented in the divorce, you should return to that attorney for assistance in understanding the decree and, in the event someone had their wits about them and included a refinancing requirement, see about enforcing the decree. If he can't refinance after having been ordered to do so, then a court order for his cooperation in attempting a short sale may be a viable strategy. If you were improvident enough to participate in a divorce without counsel, you are now reaping the consequences. Bankruptcy to discharge your personal liability on the mortgage note may be your best option. To know more precisely, a consultation with local counsel experienced in both divorce and bankruptcy is needed, and the longer you delay, the more your options diminish.

Best wishes for an outcome you can accept, and please remember to designate a best answer.

This answer is offered as a public service for general information only and may not be relied upon as legal advice.

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