Breaking up can be hard to do — doubly so if there's real estate to be split up. Some ex-spouses choose to sign quitclaim deeds, giving up all rights to real estate. However, signing a quitclaim does not remove someone from property loans. Lenders can easily remove ex-spouses from loans through legal documents called novations. However, most lenders require a spouse receiving a quitclaim deed to refinance in order to remove an ex-spouse from a loan.
Contact your lender and make an appointment to start a mortgage refinance. Tell the lender you wish to refinance to remove your ex-spouse from your property loan. Take the original deed to your appointment. Ask the lender what else you need to bring to the appointment to begin the refinance process.
Gather two years of income tax returns and three months of pay stubs for the appointment. Have your driver's license and social security number available for your loan representative. Make a list of your monthly debts with outstanding balances, such as car payments and credit cards. Bring any other documents your lender requests.
Be prepared to authorize a credit check for your lender, and to authorize the lender to contact your employer to verify employment. Fill out all loan documents requested of your lender. Understand the refinancing terms (for example, the length of the loan, the interest rate and whether it is fixed or variable).
Set a closing with your lender once your refinancing is approved. Attend the closing and bring any required funds for mortgage costs. Bring proof of insurance for the property with the lender named as an insured party. Bring your driver's license or other lender-accepted proof of identity. Have an attorney attend the closing with you if you have legal questions.
- Ask your lender if it will accept a novation to remove an ex-spouse before refinancing; many do, but it's a good idea to check. Seek legal advice if you have questions about any specific refinance package.
Maggie Lourdes is a full-time attorney in southeast Michigan. She teaches law at Cleary University in Ann Arbor and online for National University in San Diego. Her writing has been featured in "Realtor Magazine," the N.Y. State Bar's "Health Law Journal," "Oakland County Legal News," "Michigan Probate & Estate Planning Journal," "Eye Spy Magazine" and "Surplus Today" magazine.