Legal Rights and Responsibility of a House After a Divorce

Asked by Ruby, San Antonio, TX Thu Jan 22, 2009

My ex-husband was not able to refinance our home that we purchased together. I am the primary borrower and he's a co-borrower. To lessen any complications during the divorce process, I gave up the house. This was over 2 yrs ago and he still has not refinanced the house to get my name off the mortgage. Do I have any rights to sell the house? In addition, will I be held financially repsonsible if he defaults on any payments, which so far hasn't happened?

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Josh Thomas, , Austin, TX
Thu Jan 22, 2009
Do I have any rights to sell the house? Yes and No...or maybe.

If you did not put any stipulation in the divorce decree about who gets sole ownership of the home, you still have 50% vested interest. A divorce does not automatically separate property for you. The divorce decree that you, your ex, and the court signed distributes the property according to agreed terms.

So, you can sell the house, but you will have to get your ex-husband to agree and sign all paperwork, just like you would if you were still married. If you did in fact document the transfer of ownership in the decree and put in a deadline for re-financing (and that deadline has passed), then it is a matter for the courts. You may need to consult an attorney to discuss these details.

Will I be held financially responsible if he defaults?

If your name is still on the mortgage, yes. You remain a joint partner, regardless of marital status. Anything that happens to the mortgage will continue to affect you, whether or not you live there. The courts are required to address ownership of all property in the divorce decree, including the home. Obviously, you can't split a home in half. So, the typical outcomes are: designating one party as sole owner, continuing as joint partners, or selling the house.

This should not be construed as not legal advice, merely statements of fact. Good luck.
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Matt Stiglia…, Agent, San Antonio, TX
Thu Jan 22, 2009

This is definitely a question for a real estate and/or a divorce attorney. An attorney should be able to review the divorce paperwork, consider the real estate legal side, and then help you through it all. If you need any recommendations for an attorney, I'd be more than happy to provide one.

Definitely contact one asap, so you know where you stand. Good luck!


PS I have provided a link below to a list of real estate attorneys in San Antonio, just in case you wanted to find one on your own. Make sure you explain to them that it also revolves around a divorce so that they can help guide you in the best way possible.
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Dallas Texas, Agent, Dallas, TN
Thu Jan 22, 2009
WOW, sorry to hear did the attorneys address all these issues in divorce documents? I would confer with your attorney who handled divorce where you can financial move in you are tied to your ex till house sales or refi. Which if you were to purchase a home it could impede your success in obtaining a loan.


YES you are held responsible for the mortgage listed on both of your credit reports It would require 2 parties agree to sale the property and sales listing agreement. Title company would require 2 parties sign closing paperwork.

If he defaults on any loan, late payment would still reflect on your credit report.

If the homes sales based on divorce paperwork all expenses and profits may either his to keep, or split between you both.

You are in a sticky situation if he get angry at you stop mortgage payments, you both trashed your credit.
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Voices Member, , Benton County, OR
Thu Jan 22, 2009
Ruby, IMHO Only an Attorney can give you the legal answers you need....You might try asking here, it a Q&A where lawyers answer questions..…

If you have a lawyer you should find this out from him, if you don't you may want to find one..

Good luck, Dunes
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