Removing Spouse's Name on House Mortgage During Divorce

You'll need to refinance your mortgage in your own name to get your spouse off the loan.

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Gavel and Scales

Whether you are legally separated, getting divorced, or already divorced, you may need to remove your ex from your mortgage and assume the loan on your own. Perhaps you want to make sure that your ex is no longer financially responsible for repaying the loan, if you have both agreed that you will keep the house. Or, you might want to make sure that your ex won't get any of the proceeds if you sell the property (or inherit it if you die).

No matter why you are removing your spouse from your mortgage, you will have to follow certain steps, intended to protect your spouse and the mortgage lender. 

Taking Your Spouse Off Your Mortgage

There is only one way to have your spouse's name removed from the mortgage: You will have to apply for a loan to refinance the mortgage, in your name only. After all, the original mortgage was approved in both of your names, giving the lender two sources of repayment. Although you and your spouse may decide between yourselves that your spouse will no longer be responsible for the mortgage, that agreement doesn't affect the lender. In other words, the mortgage lender can still come after your spouse for repayment unless and until you refinance in your own name alone. 

Just as you did when you originally took out the mortgage, you will have to pass the lender's eligibility requirements to refinance the loan. You will have to show that you will be able to make the payments and live up to your end of the deal. This time, however, the lender will be looking only at your assets, income, debts, and credit score. 

If your credit and financials aren't strong enough on their own to qualify for the loan you need, you'll have to come up with other options, such as making a larger down payment or asking someone to cosign the loan for you. 

Filing a Quitclaim Deed 

Once you’ve been informed that your refinance has been approved, you should have your spouse’s name taken off of the deed to the property as well as the mortgage. Typically, you do this by filing a quitclaim deed, in which your spouse gives up any right to the property. Once you have the quitclaim form filled out, you’ll need to have your spouse come in to the lender who is handling your refinance and sign the quitclaim with you in front of the loan officer, who will then notarize the document, taking your spouse’s name off of the property deed as well as the mortgage. Remember, you should do this only after you have secured your refinancing for the house. 

Getting Help

Removing a spouse name from a mortgage loan can be complicated, and you might need legal help to get it done right. In many divorces, the family home is by far the largest asset, so it's important to make sure you handle this step correctly. An experienced attorney can help you deal with the bank and meet any other legal requirements to have your spouse removed from the mortgage and deed, and get your house in your name alone. 

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