House Awarded in Divorce, but Both on deed, loan, insurance



The situation is that the couple agreed the wife would keep the house as part of the divorce settlement; papers have already been signed and processed and finalized. But the house was never sold or refinanced and remains in the same situation as when the husband and wife purchased it as a couple. The husband has received no financial compensation for the money he contributed to the purchase of the house, and payment of the house, before the couple separated.

She has been paying the mortgage for the last 3 years or so. Before the last 3 years, he had been paying the bulk of the mortgage.

He has not been living in the house during the last 3 years. This situation is taking place in North Carolina.

However, both the husband and wife are still on the house deed, both are on the mortgage loan, and both are on the homeowners insurance policy.

The husband is trying to get a small bank loan, but is unable to because of the liability of being on the mortgage loan, and responsible, on paper, for the entire amount, which he is not paying. So he is financially responsible for the house, that he is not living in, and is deriving no benefit from, but is getting penalized for, because that liability counts against him.

The wife has no plans to refinance, because her income alone will probably not allow her to get a mortgage by herself, even though she is currently paying the mortgage. After the husband discussed the situation with the wife, the wife still does not intend to refinance in her name alone, but intends to keep the existing mortgage loan with both their names on it.

My questions are:

  1. Does the husband still have a legal claim or asset in the marital house since he is still on the house deed? Is it still half his house, despite the divorce papers agreement that says it is now hers? What significance or order of precedence does the deed have as far as legal ownership, versus a setttlement or divorce agreement?

  2. Can he legally make the wife refinance to remove him from the loan, even though the divorce was finalized?

  3. Can he initiate a refinance of the house himself to be removed from the loan?

  4. Can he claim the house as an asset as equity for a loan as long as he is on the deed?

  5. If he is still on the deed when the house sells, is he entitled to half the profits?

  6. What recourse does he have now to fix this situation, which should have been fixed before the divorce was finalized, but unfortunately was not.

Any help is appreciated. Thank you.


If the Separation Agreement allows wife to retain the home, the husband as no legal right to the home, and unless the Agreement requires a sale or refinance the same cannot be forced upon wife.