Q: After my divorce, the court awarded my ex-spouse our house and instructed him to refinance the mortgage to get me out of it. He failed to refinance the property several years later and pays the mortgage inconsistently, which shatters my creditworthiness. What can I do to escape this nightmare? – Nona
A: There is no worse situation than owing money on a property that you do not own or use.
Your best bet is to go back to the divorce court and ask the judge to enforce the order.
However, your ex may not be able to get new credit due to income or credit problems.
Depending on the particular circumstances of your situation, the court may order the sold property to pay off the mortgage, but this is unlikely if your ex lives in the apartment.
If the divorce court can’t help you, you can sue him in new proceedings for the damage he does to you. This only makes sense if he has money in the bank or assets that you could take away after a case won.
If your ex is “proof of judgment,” meaning he can’t collect a fortune, filing a new lawsuit would throw good money after bad money.
If someone files for bankruptcy with a mortgage, they can be released from the obligation to repay the loan but lose their share of the mortgage property. Since you have no interest in his house anyway, bankruptcy could wipe the mortgage and other debts off your record and give you a fresh start financially.
A gavel rests on a law book. (Dreamtime / TNS)
Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and Florida Bar certified real estate lawyer. He practices real estate, commercial and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is chairman of the real estate division of the Broward County Bar Association and co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He regularly advises various companies across the country on general Florida real estate matters and trends. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.