How do I get my credit back after my ex-spouse skipped mortgage payments?
Q: After my divorce, the court assigned our house to my ex-partner and ordered him to refinance the mortgage to get me out. He did not refinance the property several years later and pays the mortgage irregularly, leaving my credit in shambles. What can I do to escape this nightmare? – Nona
A: There is no worse position than owing money on property that you don’t own or benefit from.
Your best option will be to go back to divorce court and ask the judge to enforce the order.
However, your ex may not be able to get a new loan due to income or credit issues.
Depending on the unique circumstances of your situation, the court may be able to order that the property sold pay off the mortgage, but this is unlikely if your ex lives in the house.
If the divorce court cannot help you, you can sue it in a new lawsuit for the damages it causes you. It only makes sense if he has money in the bank or assets that you could take after winning your case.
If your ex is ‘judgmental’, that is, has no assets to collect, suing again would be throwing money at evil.
Depending on your financial situation, declaring bankruptcy is an option. Your credit is already damaged, and if you have other debt, like credit cards, this could solve the problem with your ex.
When a person with a mortgage goes bankrupt, they may be released from the obligation to repay the loan but lose their interest in the mortgaged property. Since you have no interest in his house anyway, bankruptcy could take the mortgage and other debts off your record and give you a new financial start.
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Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, commercial litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is president of the real estate section of the Broward County Bar Association and co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He consults frequently on general Florida real estate issues and trends with various companies across the country. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.