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Topics addressed on August 3, 2011:
Deleting a mortgage after divorce
I have been divorced over one year. My ex-spouse was awarded the house and all bills that she has with that house. I want that off my credit report. What has to be done to correct this problem?
One of the most common misperceptions during a divorce is that the divorce decree cancels previous credit contracts. In fact, the divorce decree is simply an agreement between you, your ex-spouse and the court regarding who will take responsibility for paying the existing debts.
As a result, the divorce decree doesn’t nullify or amend the contract you have with the lender or cause the entry for the account to change in your credit report.
In order to have the mortgage removed from your report, the lender must agree to alter the contract it has with you and your ex-wife, removing you from responsibility. If it agrees to do so, it could then have the account removed from your credit history.
To remove one party from the contract typically means that the loan would be refinanced as an individual loan. That means your ex-wife would need to qualify independently to refinance the mortgage in her name only, and the terms would be based on her credit history and the current market rates. If she cannot qualify, the lender may not agree to alter the contract, meaning you still would have legal joint responsibility for payment of the debt. In that instance, the mortgage account would remain on your credit report.
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- The "Ask Experian" team