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  1. #1

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    What are options to remove mortgage co-debtor after they abandon home?

    Jurisdiction / State: Pennsylvania

    Background...
    I purchased my current home in 1997. In 2007 it was refinanced and I added my domestic partner (not married) to the mortgage who had lived there with me since 2002.
    In 2008, I, alone, filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
    In 2009, my domestic partner (DP) left under hostile conditions and "abandoned" the home. I applied for a Protection From Abuse order against her, so she will never return to the home. She has not paid anything toward the mortgage since her departure.

    I have been gainfully employed in the IT arena since 1994. In order to keep my home, I would like to refinance it to lower my high interest rate and successfully keep my home.

    My question is... If DP is unwilling to sign to remove herself from the mortgage during a refinance, are there any other options available to remove her? Is there a timeframe for abandonment that would negate her claim/responsibility to the debt? Is there a way to forceably have her remove her name from the mortgage, such as a lawsuit or other means?

    A few months ago, I originally inquired about appliing for a mortgage remodification, but it requires both co-debtors' consent as well. However, if I was going to get her to sign anything, I wanted it to be to remove her from any future documents.

    I appreciate any options or insight anyone can give.
    Thank you for your time...

  2. #2
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    I can't imagine why someone would not want to be released from such a large debt. If you need a document signed then just ask. If she refuses then worry about alternatives.
    The creditor should be able to advise what must be done.

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    Partition should do it!

    DOODLE914:

    It is not clear from the information what you made her to be when you added her to the title; i.e. are you two joint tenants? Tenants In Common? Because that will go some ways in determining the outcome of the only option available to you which is to commence an Action for Partition.

    A Partition action is geared specifically to address just such scenarios as one you find yourself in, one in which the parties cannot settle property division or its sale by amicable means, letting instead the court decide on behalf of the warring factions.

    You can commence a partition lawsuit to (amongst others ) either force a buyout of her share of the property or force the overall sale of the entire property even if one of the owners does not consent to such a sale. In short, partition is an action between parties who cannot seem to reach a decision by themselves, so the court will decide for them.

    fredrikklaw
    Only a lawyer can use 10,000 words to write a documewnt and then call it a Brief!

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    I fear that her vindictive nature could trump the large debt burden.
    I am just looking to be prepared in case she refuses to sign.
    Thanks!

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    fredrikklaw,



    I am not certain how she was added to the title either.
    But I appreciate the info about the Partition action. The fact that it is the only option is a little disappointing, but I hope she signs willingly and I do not have to resort to using it.

    Thanks for your help!!


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    Partition is not a viable option!

    Quote Originally Posted by doodle914 View Post
    fredrikklaw,

    I am not certain how she was added to the title either.
    But I appreciate the info about the Partition action. The fact that it is the only option is a little disappointing, but I hope she signs willingly and I do not have to resort to using it.

    Thanks for your help!!
    What you mean is that you don’t have a present recollection of signing a deed conveying her an interest in your home. Only you the recorded owner could have effected such a transfer.

    Most likely what you did was quitclaim her an undivided one half interest in the home.

    Whether it resulted from an affectionate impulse (a/k/a temporary insanity) or if it was something suggested/required by the bank is of no matter now because it is an accomplished fact and cannot be unwound short of her voluntary act in quitclaiming her interest back to you.

    In any event it is extremely important for you to look at that 2007 deed instrument to know exactly where you each stand.

    So boogey down to the county recorder or registrars office and have a look at the deed document. You will find it under the direct indexes. (That is, your name indexed as the granting party.) Someone in the county office will assist you and provide you a copy for a nominal fee.

    THEN take the deed to an attorney experienced in practicing real property law! You are not capable of resolving these issues on your own. They are far too complicated.

    Unknowingly you foolishly created an estate in cotenancy between you and your erstwhile friend with each owning and undivided interest in the whole. Which means it cannot be sold, leased or encumbered without mutual written consent. Nor can one co-owner require another to buy or sell a respective interest.

    JUDICIAL PARTITION IS ABSOLUTELY NOT THE ANSWER!

    It would result in her property interest being acknowledge and the home being sold by the sheriff at a public auction and the net proceeds, if any, divided between you as your respective interests appear on the title.

    You do, however, have some leverage to apply in urging the person to quitclaim back her interest.

    Because she is on the mortgage she is jointly obligate for the principal and interest payments.

    If you as a joint obligor make those payments in full then you are entitled to contribution from her for her fair share. Plus you can sue her as those incremental payments are made.

    But, again you need the services of an experienced lawyer. You will not learn your legal options or how to assert them from searching the Internet!

    Lastly, you mentioned the probability of your gaining because of what you describe as her “abandonment” of the home. Erase that idea immediately!

    There are millions of absent co-owners. Moreover, one co-owner cannot quiet out another co-owner’s property rights under principles of adverse possession unless there is clear evidence of the moving party having notified the other of his or her intention to exclusively occupy the property. Plus, it takes as many as 20 years from date of such notification - depending on the jurisdiction.

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