Ask A Divorce Lawyer: Should I take over the house payments or go to court to get her to pay?

Question: 

I’m divorced and didn’t use a lawyer. My ex had an affair with a man and now she is living in my house with him and she is not paying the second mortgage as ordered. Can I either take over the house and payments myself or can I go to court to get her to pay? My credit is getting destroyed.

 

 

 

 

 

Answer:
You need to consult a domestic litigation attorney in your jurisdiction as the laws vary from state to state.  If the divorce decree orders your ex-wife to pay the second mortgage, she is violating a Court Order and you may be able to file a Motion to Compel or seek a finding of Contempt of Court.  Punishments for contempt of Court can include a fine and/or jail time.  However, one of the requirements for a finding of Contempt is generally that the other person has the ability to pay.  If your ex-wife is not able to pay the second mortgage, the Court may not punish her with a fine or jail time, but may require her to figure out a way to get the mortgage out of your name.

Does the divorce decree detail whether or not she has to refinance the home?  Creditors are generally not bound by divorce decrees.  As such, if your name is on the mortgage, they can go after you for payment of the lien even if you do not have an interest in the house.  Even if she starts paying the mortgage on a timely basis, you should consult an attorney licensed in New Hampshire to see if you get an Order requiring her to get your name off of the loan within a certain period of time or sell the home.

 

 

Erica Christian is an Associate Attorney in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, office of Cordell & Cordell, P.C. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Wisconsin. She is a member of the Wisconsin Bar Association, the Family Law Section and the Children’s Law Section.

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