Local news for Fort Myers and Sarasota, Florida reported on a property division issue a man had while he was getting divorced.
The man in question believed that he could simply sign a quitclaim deed and walk away from his mortgage during a divorce, however the reality of the situation is much more complex. In most cases, the mortgage will have to be handled separately from the petition to formally dissolve the marriage.
Can a divorced spouse simply give away their interest in a piece of property to avoid payments?
The situation started when the man’s wife suggested that she just keep the house and become financially responsible for all future payments, as she earned enough to do so. He would only be required to sign paperwork to give away his interest in the property.
The advice column answered by saying the lender can still hold both people responsible for paying the mortgage, as it was initially issued in both of their names. This is essentially a loan, and it functions separately from any legal interest related to property ownership. Because both spouses co-signed for the loan, one can be held liable for the entire balance if the other does not pay it. In this situation, it is possible that if the husband signs the quitclaim deed, he could end up being responsible for making payments on a house that he has no ownership interest in. A foreclosure would still affect his credit and finances as well.
The two possible solutions to this problem would be to either refinance the home in his wife’s name only, or to just sell the property. There are no other ways to get the husband’s name off of the mortgage documents. Refinancing has become a fairly simple and streamlined process, and the wife may be able to save money on payments if interest rates have dropped since the house was initially financed. Selling also has advantages, as the couple could split the money in any way that they want, and it would avoid future issues.
Getting help with property division
Aside from child custody, disputes over houses and other important pieces of property are usually the most contentious part of a divorce. As this news item shows, it may also be important to get legal advice through the divorce proceedings and property disputes in family court, as issues may emerge that result in serious consequences. If this many had signed a quitclaim deed without removing his name from the mortgage, he could have been in serious financial trouble for years afterward, and his life would have been severely affected.
Learn more about divorce law
You can speak with an attorney who serves clients on the Gulf Coast of Florida. To learn more about divorces, child support, alimony, custody disputes, and more, contact:
2423 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901