For most people, a house is the biggest thing we ever buy. This value often means it becomes a huge part of the division of property during divorce. The potential for foreclosure in divorce also adds a new layer of complexity to the proceedings.
In many cases, a divorcing couple sells the house and divides the money. For others, one spouse may move out while the other takes responsibility for the mortgage and bills. One issue with this, however, is that foreclosure looms large. If your ex can’t or won’t keep up with payments, if your name is still on the paperwork, it can come back on you.
What if you find yourself in this situation? If your ex won’t agree to sell the house during a divorce? How can you protect yourself against foreclosure in divorce? Fortunately, there are options.
Rick Jones, one of our founding partners, regularly appears on the Danny Bonaduce and Sarah Morning Show to address family law questions from listeners. One recent caller’s son finds himself in exactly this sort of predicament.
Related Reading: If I Leave the House, Do I Lose My Equity?
Listen to the Conversation Below:
Caller: “My son is in the middle of a divorce and we can’t get [his wife] to sell the house before it goes into foreclosure. We were just trying to figure out, what do we do?”
Rick: “When you say ‘the middle of a divorce,’ the divorce is already filed and an open court case?”
Caller: “It is, yep. She doesn’t want to agree to anything.”
Related Reading: Are You Responsible For Your Ex’s Debt?
Rick: “Here’s what the next step is going to be on something like this. Ultimately you need to set a motion with the court, and you can be in court within two weeks.
“Set a motion with the court saying: ‘Court, we’re asking the court to order the sale of the home, and the reason why we’re doing that is not that we’re a bull in a China closet here, but we’re trying to avoid foreclosure and a loss of any equity there.’
“So if you can make that argument significantly to the court and financially or numerically, the odds are very high that the court looks at that and says, ‘Yes, we will order a sale.’
“They’ll probably appoint somebody they call a Special Master, and that’s somebody that’s usually an attorney that oversees the sale because there’s going to be other issues, like how much should we list the house for? What is an acceptable sales number? Things like that.
“The road is actually pretty clear for you, but you do unfortunately have to go through that step of getting in front of the court.”
Related Reading: Pro Se Divorce: A Closure Look At DIY Divorce