When both you and your wife's names are on the mortgage, you're both legally obligated to pay the debt regardless of any other circumstances. When you need to remove your wife's name, such as before a pending divorce or if she has a terminal health issue, talk with your mortgage company first to determine if you can keep your current mortgage or if you must start from scratch with a refinance. Taking her name off the deed also removes any ownership she has in the home.
Call your mortgage company to ask if you can remove your wife's name. Explain the details of your situation, and provide the lender with documents to support your explanation. For example, fax the lender a copy of your divorce settlement or a letter from the doctor describing your wife's condition. Ask to assume the loan in just your name, removing her from mortgage liability. This lets you keep the current terms of your loan, although most lenders don't like doing assumptions.
Research refinance options with various lenders. Compare rates and terms with your current mortgage. Refinancing the balance of your mortgage in just your name allows you to pay off the mortgage that includes your wife's name while you retain ownership of the home.
Check your credit report for trouble spots. Work on correcting issues, such as writing letters to the credit bureaus contesting inaccuracies on your report. Pay up any past-due accounts to help increase your credit score. A higher credit score enables you to receive a better interest rate on your refinance.
Verify your income with the new lender to confirm you can afford to pay the mortgage on your own. Complete the refinance paperwork to delete your wife's name and maintain yours.
Items you will need
- Current mortgage statement
- Credit report
- Documentation of situation
- Selling the house is another option; this pays off the current mortgage in full. You don't get to keep the house, but you can get a mortgage in just your name on a new one.
- Removing your wife's name from the mortgage note doesn't remove her ownership of the equity in the house. To do so, she must sign a quit claim deed that gives you full ownership of the home.
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