Free Trader, Quit Claim,and Refinance

I am trying to refinance my house. It was purchased during my marriage, but my ex has since signed a quit claim and so my name is the only one on the house presently. My name is also the only one on the mortgage loan. My ex and I are separated, but are not yet divorced.

My mortgage company sent the paperwork for the new loan for my signature to finalize everything. My ex’s name is still on all the paperwork, and requires her signature despite my having presented them with copies of all the documentation showing my sole ownership in the property. They tell me that because the property was purchased before the separation, that the free trader does not apply, even with the Quit Claim deed. I do not agree with this assessment, but I’m in no real position to argue the point at this juncture.

My question is, if I can convince my ex to sign this refinance paperwork, will she somehow end up back on the deed to the house? All of the signature lines with her name do say that it is for acknowledgment of the loan only and does not commit her to the loan, but does that also apply to her ownership interest in the house? I tried to get them to re-issue this loan paperwork with my name on it, but they refuse to do so despite my documentation.

I just want this all behind me, any help is appreciated, thanks.

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Update: In taking a closer look at this refinance paperwork from my lender, the primary document is a “Deed of Trust” which, according to my understanding, does not transfer title to the house, but rather assigns a lien to a lender. My ex is listed as a borrower on that document (even though, as I stated above, she is not on either the loan or the deed to the house). So am I OK to have her sign this to move this refinance along? I just don’t want to see any of this give her back an ownership interest in the house; and us having to go through another round of getting another quit claim deed signed… . Thanks again.

A deed of trust does not transfer ownership in the property itself. Only a recorded quitclaim deed, for example, can transfer ownership. Your ex-wife would not gain ownership in the property by signing a deed of trust but she would be agreeing that the lender can use the property to secure the debt against it (i.e. a lien). Something doesn’t sound quite right and you should look into this a bit further. Make sure the quitclaim deed has been properly recorded with the county’s register of deeds office.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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Anna, thank you. That is exactly my point, I don’t see why my ex should be on any of the refinance paperwork anyway… I get the impression my lender just doesn’t want to re-issue the paperwork in my name only… I have verified that the Quit Claim Deed is on file with the Register of Deeds office here in Wake County, and that the property lists only my name under owner (all of this is publicly searchable here in Wake County, as you know). That leaves me with the assumption that my lender just doesn’t want to be bothered with re-issuing the paperwork with only my name.

As long as the title / ownership to the house is not changing, and you see no further issues based on what I’ve told you, that was my primary concern. My ex has agreed to sign off on the paperwork, although this was not my preferred course of action. Once I am able to, I’m going to re-finance with a different lender anyway.