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Title: How to deal with a Mortgage but no House after Divorce
July 1, 2014 5:17 PM   Subscribe

*What can be written into the Quit Claim to insure and protect the me from eventually being stuck with the whole mortgage. *Or is there some other standard thing besides a quitclaim that will allow me to fulfill the court's order and will give the wife more protection than just relying on "he shall hold Wife harmless from any liability " since the mortgage company can go after the wife directly. Intro: the Husband is a Military Officer who strategized and schemed not only to divorce but to devastate an unsuspecting wife (me). He abused me for 20 years and has lied to the court many times, without being held accountable. He can be counted on taking whatever actions he is able to continue to do the me harm. He will not voluntarily do the humane, decent thing.

So this is what the Judge issued in our Final Decree.

" Wife will convey to Husband all right and title to the marital residence. Husband may sell the home or allow it to be foreclosed. Husband will be responsible for any outstanding and future homeowners' association fees and any liens on the property, including Wife's attorney's lien, and he shall hold Wife harmless from any liability associated with the sale of the home."

The "Husband" is an active duty Army Officer with the Soldiers and Sailors Act in place with the Mortgage company to protect it from being foreclosed on. The home is currently about 25 months past due. During the temporary order, the husband stopped paying his share of the mortgage (2/3s) forcing the me to stop as I would always be behind on payments in a snowballing effect. My lawyer’s (and others) advice was to let it be foreclosed on.


The mortgage company often gave different answers to the same questions.
What has been found out is: the mortgage company cannot foreclose while he is on Active Duty. He can refinance, sell, short sell or do a deed in lieu without my signature/information if he has a quit claim deed from me, BUT I am still responsible for the mortgage. There is a Release of Liability that can only be given to the wife after 12 months of current payments.


He claimed on the stand that he will be out of the Military in 90 days. His foreign national paramour will be divorced from her American husband in 60 days (and yes - she was a friend of the family). He has had her family live with them for most of this past year. He has nothing holding him here (and extreme debt) and he is considered a flight risk.
Please don't comment that I should go to his Command. I did early on when the house first went into foreclosure status and his commander and base commander didn't care nor were they going to do anything to insure his adherence to any civil matter or court orders.

**** So - the question is:
*What can be written into the Quit Claim to insure and protect the me from eventually being stuck with the whole mortgage.
*Or is there some other standard thing besides a quitclaim that will allow me to fulfill the court's order and will give the wife more protection than just relying on "he shall hold Wife harmless from any liability " since the mortgage company can go after the wife directly.

The judge is not going to entertain any motions from the me about this, but will hear the contempt motion he has filed for not having received the quit claim yet.
posted by lostinspace to Human Relations (15 answers total)
 
The actual question here is an entirely legal question and should be asked of a competent attorney. If you don't like the advice of the lawyer you've been working with, get a second opinion from another. I am very sorry this is happening to you, although I'm glad you're free of him and I hope you're able to build your new life well, but this needs a lawyer.

Aside from that, don't do anything rash or worry yourself up at night over the fact that you might end up being liable. In a pinch, there is no shame in bankruptcy, and life is not as hard as the banks would like you to think after filing. I don't say that because I have any particular reason to think you can't solve this, but because you seem to be in a really unhappy place, and I just want to make sure you're aware that the WORST thing that can happen if you get stuck with this is not a thing you cannot recover from. You're going to be okay.
posted by Sequence at 5:28 PM on July 1 [10 favorites]


Why not let the house be foreclosed on?
posted by alms at 5:29 PM on July 1


This is a question to ask your lawyer.

But, even if someone was going to comment generally about the situation, they'd need to know what state this was happening in to have any chance of giving accurate advice.

I'm sorry you're having to deal with this.
posted by sparklemotion at 5:30 PM on July 1


IANYL, TINLA

You need the advice of a competent family attorney, familiar with military divorces, in your jurisdiction, to answer this question.

I wrote some paragraphs here about mortgages and enforcement of court orders, but, seriously, this is so dependent on your jurisdiction and the facts of your case that it would be stupid to generalize.

If this guy is abusive, foreclosure or bankruptcy may be a better bet than continuing litigation. That is not legal advice, that's dealing-with-abuser advice.
posted by freshwater at 5:33 PM on July 1 [5 favorites]


and should be asked of a competent attorney.

And is very much a matter of state law. What Sequence said: if you want additional legal opinions, you need to seek them out from a competent attorney with demonstrated experience of these kinds of cases.

The meta-issue here may be your reluctance to trust someone with the capacity to affect your future in such a significant way, given your current circumstances: that's understandable. I'm not sure what kind of counsel can be offered, other than that it's okay to take a deep breath and trust a lawyer that you feel comfortable with, even if other people you've trusted have let you down.
posted by holgate at 5:39 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


My state is Georgia and Yes I currently have a lawyer, and have had the advice of several lawyers throughout this process. All who had excellent reviews and recommendations. All of whom have not properly dealt with this issue. Finding a truly "competent" lawyer in Georgia does not seem possible, and now that I have lost everything I cannot get another. I am hoping for some strategy that is not obvious from a few hours of Googling.
posted by lostinspace at 6:08 PM on July 1


If multiple lawyers are all telling you things other than what you want to hear, it is a strong suggestion that what you want to hear is not possible. The non-obvious strategies are the ones that only the experienced family law and real estate attorneys know. If you've talked to them and they say you don't have options, you might not have the options you want to have. That sucks, but you're putting yourself in a very vulnerable place like this, because someone unknowing or unscrupulous could give you very bad advice that could leave you in a far worse place than you currently are, even if it sounds reasonable on its face.

I'm sorry you're stuck between a rock and a hard place on this.
posted by Sequence at 6:26 PM on July 1 [10 favorites]


Sounds like the summary of all the advice you've been given is that you're left with, from this point forward:

1. Let the cards fall how they may.
2. File bankruptcy if it is or becomes necessary. That finishes getting you out of the financial ruins he's left you with. The sooner the better, really, because it's repaired that much sooner.
3. Completely cease contact, and move on. Your future won't be found by trying to keep him from hurting you anymore - it'll be found by leaving him in the dust of the past. Seek help via therapy if necessary, but let this END so it doesn't define you.
posted by stormyteal at 6:36 PM on July 1 [2 favorites]


As soon as the divorce is final, I'd file bankruptcy. That should protect you.

See what your lawyer says about that. Also, as a military spouse, you may have access to base resources or you can see what family law resources there are near you, like legal aid.

You need to become a jailhouse divorce lawyer. Find out EVERYTHING you can about your rights in your situation, be your advocate. Wouldn't that frost your Ex if instead of rolling over and playing dead, you got up, took care of business and had a FANTASTIC life without him?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 6:40 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


The damage has already been done. The 25 months of late/no payments to the mortgage have likely already ruined your credit. There will be little additional harm to you in foreclosure.
As your attorney advised, let the bank foreclose. Perhaps even encourage it - the sooner this property is back in the banks name the sooner it is no longer in your name. And thus, the sooner you will have a clean slate (it will take years, but yes, you will put this behind you).
Please forgive yourself if you feel guilt over not keeping up with the debt, and let this go as something you could no longer control. You did the best you could and it's time to close the chapter and wash your hands clean. Walk away, walk away.
posted by littlewater at 8:05 PM on July 1


There is life after foreclosure. I know this from observation and experience.


Let it go, file bankruptcy if necessary. It stinks but it isn't fatal. Then look ahead, not behind. You will be okay!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 8:51 PM on July 1 [1 favorite]


All of whom have not properly dealt with this issue.

Can you go into more detail about why you feel that this issue has not been properly dealt with? Maybe if you were clearer about what exactly it is that you are afraid of, it might be easier to come to a resolution?
posted by sparklemotion at 8:57 PM on July 1


Here's a neat site and it answers a lot of questions about Quit Claim.

If the house is in default, your credit is shit anyway. Bankruptcy is probably the only way to totally disentangle your finances from your husbands, and to make a fresh start. Also, it will help you recover financially from any bad decisions you and he may have made while you were married. With no debt hanging over your head, it's much easier to start over.

FWIW, my parents declared bankruptcy at one point and while they agonized over it, once it was done, it was like they were holding hands and skipping down a lane.

You don't want to be married to this yutz any more. No need to schlep money problems into your new life as well.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 5:51 AM on July 2


any time you see the words "quitclaim deed" you should be contacting a lawyer stat.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:18 AM on July 2


My state is Georgia and Yes I currently have a lawyer, and have had the advice of several lawyers throughout this process. All who had excellent reviews and recommendations. All of whom have not properly dealt with this issue. Finding a truly "competent" lawyer in Georgia does not seem possible, and now that I have lost everything I cannot get another. I am hoping for some strategy that is not obvious from a few hours of Googling.

contact the local bar association for a referral to a lawyer. Don't skimp. You should fully retain an attorney to answer a question like this.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:20 AM on July 2


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