Want to sell house but X-husband has to pay off mortgage.

Asked by Sellingrealsoon, Clinton, NJ Wed Sep 9, 2009

I'm divorced and now want to sell my house which used to be 'our' house. In our decree, my x must pay off the mortgage in six years but if I sell it it needs to be clear deed to the new owner. How do I go about this? My X has offered to roll the balance of the morgage (roughly $90K) into an IRA so he doesn't take the hit on withdrawing the total amount from his IRA, currently he's only taking out the monthly payment. Do I take him up on that and use the proceeds of the selling to satisfy the mortgage commitment?

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William Leigh…, , New Jersey
Thu Sep 10, 2009
Selling: Hmmm. Great question, lousy situation.

On the face of it, you have a court decree. The "easiest" thing to do is to follow it.

Title: If the title to the property is still in some form of joint ownership, you may have trouble getting ex to sign a deed transferring to a new owner, so that’s at least a minor consideration. Forcing him may cost legal dollars and you don't need that expense. If that’s the case, acceding to his wishes may be the thing to do, from a practical point of view.

While you seem to be content to help ex with his finances, we really don't know why. That's a social issue that may well weigh more heavily than practical or legal decrees. That part is just too tough for anyone to call, excepting the two of you.

On the other hand, depending on how much support you feel you "owe" your ex, be aware that ten years down the road you may question why you added a completely side issue of an IRA to the already complex procedure of transferring a property after a divorce.

Another point, if you can sell the property for a figure high enough to pay off the mortgage, ex pays the house off at closing, just like everyone else does. No IRA draw down, no expenditure of existing funds.

From yet another perspective, I'm not sure what rolling a debt into an IRA means. Have you had a good IRA specialist (CPA or financial advisor or retirement attorney) look over this deal? Ex may be way off base here. Frankly, I've never heard of this kind of deal and yes, I have an IRA and have reasonable financial advice.

Bottom line. You had a marriage. You and your ex ended it in some fashion. You have certain rights proceeding from the divorce decree. My advice is to get competent advisors in ALL the needed fields before you change a thing. Remember, the court has come up with a deal and a deal's a deal.
What you get in a "redeal" fandango may not be to your benefit.


Bill Holt

Yes, I've been post divorce too.
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Jeanne Feeni…, Agent, Basking Ridge, NJ
Thu Sep 10, 2009
Hi there - I would only amend the prior posters answer by adjusting "easy" to "easier"....I am dealing with a transaction right now in which our closing is held up because of a dispute in a similar payout. Good advice to get a real estate attorney to advise you. One of the best pieces of advice I have heard regarding dispensing a common asset in a divorce situation is that the house needs its own attorney. Be sure you have an iron-clad understanding and agreement of the payoff so that when you make it to the finish line, all goes well.

Good luck to you!
Jeannie Feenick
"Unwavering Commitment to Service"
Search the MLS at http://www.feenick.com
Web Reference:  http://www.feenick.com
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Carolyn Fent…, , 07825
Wed Sep 9, 2009
Sounds like you have a good relationship with your x so this will be easy to do. You will need to get a real estate attorney. If you don't have one, I can give you some names and numbers. Give me a call or email - I can stop by tomorrow if you like.

Carolyn Fenton
Realtor, GREEN
RE/MAX Ridge Real Estate
o. 908-362-7200 ext 157
c. 973-214-2166
0 votes
Carol Kerr,…, , Austin, TX
Wed Sep 9, 2009
First, I'm in Texas and real estate law varies from state to state, so you really need a local response but here are a few thoughts since you don't have a response yet.

Whether it is a good idea to take your ex up on his IRA offer really depends on what your goals are for selling the house. If you want to use the proceeds from the sale to make another purchase, rolling the money into an IRA (I'm assuming in your name alone) might not be a good idea. My recommendation is to consult your financial advisor about whether this is a good idea for you. If it is, then talk to your tax advisor about how to make that happen.

As far as the real estate transaction itself, do you have title to the house in your name alone? If so, then you are good to go. If not, you probably need to either have your ex sign a real estate power of attorney that permits you to sign legal docs related to the house sale on your own or you need to have the deed transferred to your name alone. Great... more paperwork....

Good luck and if you need a local referal please feel free to email me and I will connect you with a local realtor to help you navigate this process.

Best regards,
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