I am divorcing my husband. He moved to another country and stopped paying the mortgage. Can a lien be put on the property for my share of the equity?

Asked by Janet P., Torrance, CA Thu Aug 1, 2013

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Bruce Blumbe…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
Hi Janet,

As others have said already you should be speaking to an attorney to clarify your options. Is your estranged husband communicating with you at this point? To conduct any business with your lender the lender will restrict their dialog to the person or persons on the loan(s). As long as he is alive you will need to have him sign off on any and all documentation the lender submits to you. Bottom line is that you need to speak to an attorney without any delay! Your situation will only get worse as time goes by!
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Howard Curry, Agent, Chino Hills, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
Janet, I also agree that there are many good comments provided below.

This is a legal question and you should consult with a real estate attorney.

Please note that you mentioned a lien – a lien is a notice attached to your property telling the world that a creditor claims you owe it some money. A lien is typically a public record. A lien is not recorded on equity but, on the property itself.

Separately, if you had work performed by a contractor to improve your property (i.e., Kitchen remodel, room addition, etc), that contractor may file a mechanic’s lien against your property if the work performed was not paid in full (again, it has nothing to do with the equity).

Title & mortgage are two separate issues and the previous comments provided the appropriate response.

It cannot be over emphasized that there are many unknown details related to your situation that has to be considered. The bottom-line is that if your name is on the mortgage - your home and your credit is likely at risk if the mortgage is not paid.
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Michael Magaw, Agent, Torrance, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
Janet, there are lots of good answers below. There are just too many questions that we need to ask (who's on title, who's on the loan, is the soon-to-be ex cooperating, etc.), and then we would still recommend you consulting with a qualified attorney.
If you want to discuss with me or get a referral for an attorney, feel free to contact me.

Michael Magaw
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Jose D Jimen…, Agent, Yorba Linda, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
It sounds like you need help, Please call me to go over some options with you.
The lender will go after you if you don't make the mortgage payments.
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Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
Hi Janet,

Sorry to hear of your situation; however, you appear quite ready to address the issue.

DO NOT spend your time on Trulia trying to piece together a solution - you need to speak with a Lawyer and initiate a plan to address this difficulty. You can use the link below to find a legal professional to assist you.


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Tony Warfield, Agent, Manhattan Beach, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013

Please feel free to contact me to discuss your situation. There are many variables for both your divorce and your home.
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Susan Bo'ur, Agent, Manhattan Beach, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
Hello Janet,
The mortgage needs to be paid. The lender doesn't know or care whose paying it. If a lien is put on the home, it's the entire home.
I would communicate with your lender and a lawyer.
Please let me know if you have any questions in regards to selling.
Best of luck!
(310) 600-4240
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Lance King, Agent, San Francisco, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
I would need to know more details before I could even venture a guess, but as pointed out below you need to get an attorney to advise you.
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Ken Dorfman, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
This is a legal question and you would have to ask a lawyer for the specifics on it. A few questions in general though... First, how is the property vested? Who are the listed borrowers on the mortgage? This can be a very tough situation, but it has happened to others before and there are some solutions. I've been down this particular road once before. Took a pretty decent lawyer, a lot of wrangling with the bank, but we did get it solved and my seller was able to walk away with a fair amount of cash in her pocket..

Ken Dorfman,
Kenneth B Dorfman Real Estate
Lic 675912
Phone; 888-846-0688
Email; Ken@TheRealEstateOffice,Biz
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Emily Knell, Agent, Huntington Beach, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
Hello Janet,

You really need to talk to someone who understands the situation of divorce / foreclosure / missing pymts, the time lines your mortgage company is going to give you & what can be done to make this process as painless as possible for you.

I do have a lot of experience working with owners in situations like this. Although He stopped paying the mortgage, are you Underwater on the house or do you have equity?

I can give you some good advice in either case. Especially if you cannot afford the full mortgage pymt now that he's gone.

Please shoot me an email directly or give me a call if you'd like to talk to me about options, I don't look back on this same Trulia posting for answers after mine.

Emily S. Knell
562-430-3053 c
Realtor Since 1996
Realty ONE Group
100% Short Sale Success Rate in CA
0 votes
Thank you for your advice... Your answer gives me hope. I will email you the details of my situation.
Flag Thu Aug 1, 2013
Ron Thomas, Agent, Fresno, CA
Thu Aug 1, 2013
Hey Janet;
You are in California: There is no "MY SHARE" of the equity!
You got it all; at theast the liability of it, (you'll have to ask your attorney about the profits).
If you cannot afford the payment, or you are already behind; you've got to communicate with your Lender. That is definite!

You should also have a Realtor in your corner for advice about the foreclose and Shortsale.
Choose one.
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, ,
Thu Aug 1, 2013
You need to get an attorney for this. It's going to be tough to sell the property if he owns it with you, without his signature.

And if the mortgage is not getting paid then the bank can foreclose.

It's a tough situation, and my heart goes out to you. But you really need to speak to a lawyer who will be able to give you better, more accurate advice.
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