I was advised to sign a Quit Claim Deed years ago by an attorney and now the house is potentially going to be foreclosed on - do I have any options?

Asked by House Hunter, Fort Worth, TX Thu Jan 28, 2010

During a divorce my attorney advised me to sign a Quit Claim Deed on the house my spouse and I were purchasing. At the time my spouse would not refinance nor buy me out. The judge specified in the divorce I no longer had any financial responsiblity to the house and specified this in the divorce decree. Now years later my ex is no longer making payments and I am still on the mortgage. I was very young and thought my attorney was representing me to my best interest. Now I wonder where he got his license to practice with that kind of advice. The house is nearly paid off, but has not been taken care of and if I tried to regain ownership I would inherit back debt and basically a white elephant. Any suggestions or thoughts would be appreciated.

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Don Tepper, Agent, Burke, VA
Thu Jan 28, 2010
What your lawyer didn't make clear is that there's a complete difference between a court decree in a divorce and the documents you signed when purchasing.

The judge can order you all day to turn over your ownership interest to your ex. And you can. Problem is: Your lender doesn't care. Nor does it matter. Your name is on the mortgage. So you ended up with the worst of both possible worlds: No ownership interest and yet financial responsibility. All the judge was saying was that, as far as payment of support or alimony--or your contribution to the mortgage--you had no financial responsibility insofar as it involved the divorce. The judge had no ability to negate your mortgage documents.

Get yourself a lawyer. A competent one this time.

Good luck.
2 votes
Shawday Bent…, , Memphis, TN
Fri Jan 29, 2010
Kudos to those who answered so far, there's been some good advice. Of course getting a competent attorney at this point is key for you but you might have questions as to what type, and might be concerned that you don't have the money for one at this point.

There are a couple of reasons why contacting a competent real estate attorney could get you pointed in the right direction. At this point your problem is no longer a divorce law issue as someone below pointed out. A good percentage of real estate attorneys have regular investor clients who close lots of deals and specialize in working out answers to problems like yours. If your house is in even fair condition there should be enough equity in the house for an investor (or yourself through your own means) to pay your ex to sign the deed back over to you via warranty deed as already mentioned, get the attorney paid off on the back end once you sell, and pay back whatever resources you used to get your problem solved.

No doubt it would be a mental and emotional struggle to think about paying your ex money to fix a problem they put you in to begin with, but as Bruce pointed out, your ex may not be motivated to do anything at all unless prompted by the prospect of getting a few bucks. Your credit future is probably worth it.

As for filing a lien for the child support backpayments, it might not do you any good. Especially if your lien ends up being junior to any others besides the morgage. With the lender being the 1st position lienholder, their goal will be to sell the house at auction for the outstanding amount that they are owed. Anything beyond that they don't really care about. So if the house only fetches a modest amount at the auction sale, it could possibly be too low to pay all the liens against the property which would then be wiped out.

Don't be discouraged though. You definitely DO have options and I hope you're able to get on the phones and hit the streets for some local help quickly. Best of luck to you.
1 vote
Bruce Lynn, Agent, Coppell, TX
Fri Jan 29, 2010
You probably need to get a family attorney to assist you....normally I would say go back to the divorce attorney, but not sure that is a good idea. Most attorney's I know never suggest using a quit claim for anything I've ever heard of.... as in this case it did not get you off the loan, merely reliquished perhaps your claim of owner ship in the property, but that does not mean the mortgage company released you from your obligation.

If it is almost paid off....get your ex to sell it....or refinance. That is the best way to get you off the note, although there is perhaps no motivation to do so now. If it is almost paid off, you might ask your attorney to get you back the house, sell it, pay off the loan, and get rid of that mortgage.
1 vote
Keith Manson-…, , Milwaukee, WI
Fri Jan 29, 2010
In divorce situations this happens all the time. It is like a specialist that only looks at what is front of them today and does not think outside the box or what might happen in the future. Now you have a tough issue to address. Do you want the property or not and will your x allow you to take ownership. It is all about how much equity is in it and if it is worth trying to save the property and your credit. If texas you don't have much time to waste! If it is already in forclosures we are talking a maxium of 60 days until foreclosure and more likely much less time.

Good Luck
Keith Manson
First Weber Group
Certified Distressed Property Expert

1 vote
Guy Gimenez, Agent, Austin, TX
Thu Jan 28, 2010
1. Quitclaims are all but worthless in Texas.

2. Only your ex refinancing will eliminate your obligation to the lender.

3. If the house is heading to foreclosure and you want to save your credit and possibly make some money too, consider this.
a. If there is plenty of equity in the house, contact your ex and ask her if she'd take $500 or $1,000 cash to deed the property to you via special warranty deed.
b. If she agrees and you don't have the money to make the back payments, contact me or another investor as we can make up the back payments, pay her the upfront cash, etc. as long as our interest is protected and we can all make some money.

4. You may need to move fast depending on when the home is scheduled to hit the auction. Feel free to call or email with any questions on this process.

Guy E. Gimenez
Investor / Broker
1 vote
Wilbz82, Home Buyer, Fort Worth, TX
Sun Apr 24, 2016
I too am in the same mess. I am not on the mortgage however only the deed. I too signed a quit claim deed. I was told by both his attorney and mine that it will be taken care of now that I signed August 27, 2015. Well, just 4 days ago (8 months later) I was served because my ex divorce attorney is representing the bank that is now going after my ex husband in a foreclose case and I had to sign conflict of interest paper work. I learned that my name was still on the deed and that it will now be listed on my credit report!!!!! My ex advised me he did not sign to get my name off because he knew he was going to lose the house and he knew it was going to screw my credit.
0 votes
Shawday Bent…, , Memphis, TN
Sun Jan 31, 2010
I hope you've had some success finding an attorney since your last post. I just wanted to point out that in cases of loan defaults mortgage companies usually send NODs (Notice of default) to the address they have on file when the loan was originated unless a change of address has been sent in. So even if they have your new contact information as an additional contact, you may never receive an NOD notification or an intent to foreclose. In this case being proactive is your best bet. Try contacting the mortgage company directly to get all the details you need. If you're on hook for the loan they should give you all the info you want.
0 votes
Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Sat Jan 30, 2010
Sorry hear this however many FORGET till you that mortgage MUST have your name removed in order release you from debt,

I see this all time divorce other innocent party credit gets trashed. If the mortgage not been paid your scores could be tanked.

Recommend move on this therefore you can at least save your credit , home and not have a foreclosure

0 votes
House Hunter, Home Buyer, Fort Worth, TX
Sat Jan 30, 2010
I am trying to find a competent attorney in the DFW area that specializes in this situation. If anyone has attorney suggestions, I would so appreciate them.

I have not been contacted by the mortgage company with this house EVER regarding past due payments, etc. so I am not even sure sure what the status of this house is. They do have my contact information. My ex husband only communicates on his terms via cryptic notes (he no longer has phone service and does not respond to my emails). I have been told he has a sign in the yard that states For Sale by Owner, but no phone number, etc. I am at a loss as to what I need to do at this point. Again, any attorney recommendations will be appreciated.
0 votes
House Hunter, Home Buyer, Fort Worth, TX
Fri Jan 29, 2010
Can I file a judgement / lien for back child support on this property even with the Quit Claim Deed? My ex is in arrears for thousands of dollars in back child support to me, and this has been a battle for many years.
Any help is appreciated.

If anyone can recommend a good Real Estate Attorney in the DFW area, I would be very interested in that also.
Thank you in advance for any response.
0 votes
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