How Do We Get Someone Off the Mortgage After a Divorce?


Dear Steve,

Individuals divorced for 10 years but still on the title of the mortgage. Mortgage in default and being resolved.

We are in the process of refinancing and or financial assistance for a mortgage. The parties listed on the mortgage include individuals who have been divorced for 10 years. We now know that a quit claim deed and other paper should have been filed. That is in process at this moment by an attorney.

How do we help the individual listed on the mortgage? This was not the responsibility of the person not living in the house. However, because their name is on the mortgage it will affect their credit. We want to help them. And yes, we are responsible for the debt, not them.

If we send a letter in writing to the credit bureaus stating that this individual is not responsible for our debt, will this help them? I know this may sound strange to some, but we do not want to dump our debt on anyone. We are trying to correct hard times which caused late payments on a mortgage.



Dear Diann,

The only way to remove someone from being liable for a joint mortgage is to refinance it or get the lender to remove the person which never happens.

A quitclaim deed will remove the person from the deed but not the mortgage. So a quitclaim deed isn’t going to clear the cloud on the property as long as the two individuals remain on the mortgage.

“Because of this lack of warranty, quitclaim deeds are most often used to transfer property[5] between family members, as gifts, placing personal property into a business entity (and vice versa) or in other special or unique circumstances.” – Source

“In the event that the grantor has an outstanding mortgage on the property, he or she remains legally responsible for the mortgage even after transferring ownership through a quitclaim deed. This is because a quitclaim merely transfers ownership – not any debts or claims to the property. The new owner will have the title of the property, but the original grantor will still be liable for the outstanding mortgage.” – Source

See also  Legal Issues Surround Quitclaim Deeds

This situation is quite common in couples who divorce but fail to sell or refinance the property. This leaves both ex-spouses tied through the previous mortgage. It’s important to remember in a mortgage you divorce your spouse, not your creditors.

A letter to the credit bureaus will do nothing because it is not a representation of the fact both parties on the mortgage will remain on the mortgage.


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