My spouse and I divorced last year. I had already refinanced the house under my name (removing her from the mortgage). Due to a series of unfortunate events, I can no longer afford the house (it has been sold at sheriff's sale earlier this month). I've been approached to try and short-sell the house and think it may be the only recourse available to me right now. As a side note, the house was not addressed in our divorce settlement as we (I) expected it to be foreclosed on prior to the actual date of divorce.
The question is: To remove my ex-spouse from the deed, do I merely have her sign a quit claim and file it or is there more involved.
I share the concerns of Mr. Tupitza. Normally a bank isn't interested in letting you revinance unless all of the owners of the property are party to the mortgage. If your interest in the property is the only one that was mortgaged, and your ex-wife is still in title, you may have some room to work with the bank on getting this resolved.
Normally you would record a copy of the divorce decree or a summary real estate disposition judgment following a divorce. An attorney would be able to help you pretty easilly with this. Given the complexity of the other issues you describe I would strongly recommend you talk to an attorney as soon as possible.
Real Estate Attorney
I am very confused. You say you were able to refinance with her name in title under circumstances where she did not sign the mortgage. Next you say the property was sold at sheriff's sale. It is hard for me to understand how you could have refinanced without her signature if she was an owner. If the property was sold at sheriff sale, neither of you is an owner and there is no need for her to sign anything. You may want to talk to a local foreclosure lawyer because your ex may still have an outstanding un-foreclosed interest.
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I agree with the other two individuals as it pertains to their answers. It may be that your spouse may have already been removed from the title of the house through a quitclaim deed or divorce decree that was recorded that allowed you to refinance.
However, sometimes title companies make mistakes and allow you to refinance without such a documents. With that said, if your spouse is cooperative, a quitclaim deed from your spouse to you should be sufficient to grant you the authority and title required to execute a purchase agreement and sell your house on a short sale should your mortgage company approve it.
On a side note, you should consult with an attorney to be sure that a short sale is your best option. When entering into a short sale it is important to make sure that you are fully released from the loans against the property whether they number one or more. I have had seen mortgage companies bring actions against borrowers to collect on the balance of loans when the borrowers believed they had been completely discharged. Make sure you review all documents with an attorney to fully understand whether you have been fully released from all obligations in a short sale.
I hope your situation improves and that the information you have received has been helpful.
Please be advised that this answer is provided with the understanding that legal advice is not being offered or given. All situations are different and require specific advised from an attorney. Any answer to a legal question should be obtained from a licensed attorney.