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xavierjd, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3400
Experience:  20 yrs exp. in divorce, custody, visitation & support .
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My wife still has her name on her old house with her ex husband.

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My wife still has her name on her old house with her ex husband. If my wife's ex husband defaults on his mortgage, can the creditors come after my assets to settle the unpaid debt on the house that she is no longer living in?
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What did your wife's divorce decree say about the house? What was suppose to happen to it upon the divorce?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

He was/is living in the house and is making all of the payments. however, I do not trust that this will continue. I am not yet married to my girlfriend and I am looking to protect myself prior to heading into the marriage. Can I be held liable if he defaults and we are married? What do I need to do in order to protect myself?

Hi David,

Usually, when one party is awarded the marital home in a divorce, the person has to obtain a mortgage in his own name within a certain period of time (as determined in the divorce).

Do you know if there was a provision in the divorce decree that provided that he obtain a mortgage in his own name and take her name off of the house?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I am not exactly sure how it is stated in the divorce agreement. I guess that is the first thing I need to find out. If there is nothing in the agreement stating that he needs to obtain his own mortgage, what can be done to get her name removed from the mortgage. Sorry I do not have all the answers right now. Just looking for what next steps I need to take next


Hi David,

The first thing you may wish to do is to get a copy of your fiance's divorce decree. Then determine if he was awarded the marital home. If he was (and based on your post, it sounds like he was awarded the home), then determine if there is language that mandates that he get a mortgage in his own name so that she is taken off of the house.

You may also look to see if there is a provision in the divorce decree that mandates that the house be sold within a period of time.

If either of those provisions exist, your fiance needs to go back to court and file a Motion to Show Cause as to why her ex shouldn't be held in contempt of court for failing to comply with the divorce decree. If either of those above provisions exist in the decree, it is likely that the judge will ORDER that the judgment be enforced. If that is the case, you may wish to wait to get married until after the court proceedings are over.

In North Carolina, as a general rule, debts incurred wholly by one partner prior to the marriage will belong to that partner individually during the marriage and are considered as such in the event of a divorce. may wish to consult with an attorney who specializes in prenuptial agreements. You may wish to consider entering into a prenuptial agreement that can protect your assets. You don't have to tell your fiance that you are contacting an attorney regarding a prenuputal agreement. You can just have a consultation with the attorney and determine whether a prenuptial agreement is necessary in your situation to protect your assets. It may be that the general rule applies that any debts incurred wholly by one partner PRIOR to the marriage belongs to that partner during the marriage or in the event of a divorce. Moreover, you may find that it is a good idea to keep your assets/debts separate during the marriage. It is just a good idea to sit down with an attorney to review your options and decide how to proceed.

Below please find a link to the North Carolina Bar Association Attorney Referral Page. You can be referred to an attorney and have a 30 minute initial consultation for NO MORE than $50.00. It may very well be worth your while to do so.

I hope you find this information useful.

My goal is to provide you with excellent service – if you feel you have gotten anything less, please reply back. I am happy to address follow-up questions. If you are satisfied with my answer, please rate it as "excellent" or in another positive manner. That is the only way that I can get credit for answering the question.

Thank you for your business!


xavierjd and 4 other Family Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thank you so much for the reply. Exactly what I was looking for


Hi David,

Thank you so much for the "excellent service" rating! It is greatly appreciated and I am glad that you found the information useful.

If you have future questions, you can specifically request me by name as the expert.

Thanks again,