How to change name on deed?


#1

My ex-wife is living in the marital home in Charlotte, and has been since the separation began in 2008. Until a few months ago, she made the mortgage payments, but she stopped paying the mortgage in April, and I just found out about it. It looks like the house is going into foreclosure. The mortgage is in both hour names, so this is affecting my credit, not just hers. The marital home was purchased after we were married, the deed is in both our names, but as husband & wife (ie, “Joe Q Public and wife Joan L Public”). The only address on the deed is the address of the marital home.

How do I get a new deed filed, or an addendum to this deed, to reflect the fact of the divorce? At present, she is the only one who received notices from the bank about the default and foreclosure, foreclosure hearing, etc. I am concerned that, since the deed still shows us as married, any prospective buyers (before or at auction) will not know that there are really two owners who have to be dealt with, one who lives in the house, the other (me) lives out of state.

If a foreclosure buyer is looking to buy the place before the auction (I’m told this is pretty common), he is only going to contact her (because she is at the address listed on the deed for the owners), and I doubt whether I’ll hear anything about it from her, given that she said nothing about the default, and even had told me just last month that the mortgage was up to date, when it was already two months in default.

If someone comes along with a reasonable offer that would satisfy the mortgage and give us some or all of our equity back, I’d like to know about it (we bought the house before the housing bubble started inflating, so the house is not underwater, and should still show some price appreciation). It appears to me that modifying or adding to the deed is the only way to do this.

Alternatively, is there any prospect that the court will order her to agree to list the house for sale? I’ve tried this before, but the judge has never gone along - I guess as long as she was making the payments, he thought there was no need, even though in order to make an equitable distribution, either she has to refinance and come up with a pile of cash to pay me for my equity in the house, or the house has to be sold. Is it any use to list a house with an agent, when it is in default and headed for foreclosure?


#2

You still own ½ of the property, and she cannot sell the home without your signature. If you are already divorced you cannot petition the court to block the sale as part of a claim to receive your share of the marital property as you no longer have the ability to sue for property distribution under the Equitable Distribution statute.


#3

Thanks for the response Erin. I want to be clear about the circumstances, and what I want…

I filed for equitable distribution during the separation, and it was supposed to go mediation over a year ago (before the divorce was final), but the ex has been delaying and delaying, missing deadlines, “forgetting” about meetings and hearings, and the judge has not done anything to speed the process along. So I still have rights to an equitable distribution, since that was filed before the divorce, and it’s the ex’s doing that it has not yet been completed.

And I’m not worried about her fraudulently selling the house without me knowing about it; I’m worried that she isn’t going to tell me (or the court) about any offers that she may receive from interested buyers, before the foreclosure auction. I want the best price for the house, she apparently doesn’t care if the house goes for a pittance at auction and we both lose all equity.

I have been trying to convince her and the court to sell the house through the usual channels - listed with a real estate agent - since the separation began, in order to preserve as much its value as possible. It was obvious from the very beginning that she did not have the means to keep up the house: she has no job that she has admitted to either me or the court, no great store of savings, and has only been able to make the mortgage payments through the kindness and charity of her parents.

Is there any way to make sure that my name and address are listed separately on the deed, or to attach something to the deed to reflect the fact that we are no longer married? If I was a potential buyer, I would certainly like to know that I would not be dealing with a husband & wife, but a divorced couple, separate owners, with separate interests.

If someone makes a fair offer for the house, and the ex ignores or refuses it, I’d like to know about it, which in the current circumstance I would not, as she lives at the only address listed on the deed. My name is on the deed, but my address is not.


#4

There is no way to have your name and address listed separately on the deed. What I suggest you do is schedule a hearing to apprise the court of the current situation, and seek an order from the court requiring her cooperation in a sale of the home, including fair notification to you of any offers on the house.


#5

Thank you, Erin. I’m disappointed that there is no way to amend the deed to reflect reality, but it is good to know for certain.