My ex-wife was supposed to refinance our old house and care within two years of our divorce. She failed to do this and the bank foreclosed our house.
Is there anything I can do to get my name off the mortgage so it stops damaging my credit?
While I am not licensed to practice law in your state and am unable to give you legal advice, I can give you some general observations on this issue based on the jurisdiction where I practice.
Where I do practice in Virginia, when someone does not follow the court’s order you can motion to have that individual held in contempt of the court.
Your wife was ordered to remove your name from the home and the car and, in violation of the order, has refused. So, the court has the power to force her to follow its order through punishments from fines to jail time.
One misconception that is pervasive in divorces is that the court has the power to take you off of the mortgage, this is not true. The court can order one party to assume liability for the mortgage, as was done in your case, but it is ultimately up to the lender whether or not they allow the other party to be relieved of liability.
This decision by the lender is generally made through a refinancing process – so if the individual seeking to refinance is not eligible, the other party will not be removed from the mortgage. When the party is not removed from the mortgage the party who was supposed to assume liability for the mortgage can still be held liable for any damages suffered by the innocent party.
Since the home has been foreclosed on you have suffered a harm in the way of diminution in credit score; which will cost you in the future if you ever need credit. On top of asking the court to hold your ex-wife in contempt, you may also be able to seek damages that were caused by her non-compliance.
All matters regarding marital assets are fact-specific and require a specialized knowledge of local law. For these reasons I would suggest you contact an attorney who specializes in family law matters in your jurisdiction.
Remember, I am unable to provide you with anything more than tips on your issue, so please contact an attorney in your jurisdiction to obtain specific advice as to the laws of your state and how they impact your case.