Ask A Lawyer: I Never Signed Those Papers!

Question:

I divorced my ex in 2004 and I was working out of town at the time so she actually filed the divorce.

After bringing me several drafts of the divorce decree I finally signed one. Now I am finding out that the home we owned was in the divorce stating that if sold we would split the proceeds. I know that was not in the one I signed, at least not to my knowledge, or I never would have signed it. As soon as I realized it was in the final draft I had her sign a quit claim deed releasing her interest in the property.

Is a quit claim deed a legal binding document that would negate what is in the divorce decree? I had to refinance the mortgage to pay off a credit card, then I sold the home about 6 months later. I did not make any money at the sale of the house, I actually had to pay at closing. Now she is sueing me for not splitting the refinance amount that I used to pay off my credit card. Do I have any grounds to refuse?

 

 

 

ANSWER:

The refinance amount is not a “sale” and you should not owe her anything.  If the house sold and no proceeds were realized, you should not owe her anything. 

The quit claim would not override the decree, in terms of distributing any proceeds.  However, from your description, there are no proceeds and therefore nothing to distribute.  Look at whether there is language in the Decree restricting either of you from encumbering the house with additional debt prior to the sale.

If you can prove she fraudulently field a document other than the one you signed, she could be in trouble.  See if you kept a copy of the document you signed.

 

Erik H. Carter is a Senior Attorney of the Cordell & Cordell, P.C. office in Indianapolis, Indiana as well as the Litigation Manager of both the Indianapolis and Pittsburgh offices. Mr. Carter has practiced since 1993 as an attorney. He is licensed in Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania as well as the Northern District of Indiana and the Southern District of Indiana.

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