How Do I Get my Ex-Spouse’s Name off of the Mortgage?

We get this question a lot: “Now that I am divorced how do I get my ex-spouse’s name off of the mortgage?

The answer is: You may not be able to.

Here’s why.

The mortgage agreement was made between the mortgage company on one side, and you and your spouse on the other side.   Once the mortgage was signed and processed, the mortgage company had two people held responsible for paying that mortgage, and may not want to let go of one potential source of payment.  If you were the mortgage company, wouldn’t you want two people responsible for paying you rather than just one?  The mortgage company certainly has the ability to grant your request, but it is unlikely.

Depending on your mortgage company, your financial situation, and current rates, you may decide to refinance your mortgage so that you are now the only one responsible for it.  But that does take an approval process.  If it works, that can be a great way to cut ties and move on, and it also can result in more favorable mortgage terms for you!

But, as far as being able to just call the mortgage company and say, “Hey, Mortgage Company! Great news, I’m divorced! You can take my spouse’s name off the mortgage now!”, you will probably end up disappointed.

If you are the spouse who was not awarded the house, you would probably be thrilled to have your name off the mortgage.  You may even be worried that your ex-spouse won’t make timely payments, or wish that you could get your ex to try to refinance.  Therefore, it is a good idea for both spouses to discuss their concerns about the mortgage with their own attorneys and set goals about what each would like to happen. This can be discussed in mediation as well.

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