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Ask Thomas Swartz Your Own Question
Thomas Swartz
Thomas Swartz, Attorney
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 3139
Experience:  Twenty one years experience as a lawyer in New York and New Jersey. Former Appellate Law Clerk.
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I am divorced. Signed papers 3 years ago. Gave him ownership

Customer Question

I am divorced. Signed papers 3 years ago. Gave him ownership of the house. But the mortgages are in my name.
JA: Because real estate law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: He was late on the mortgage for over a year. Now its caught up but the HOA dues haven't been paid in forever and I'm getting letters from lawyers. Can I go back and contest any of this?
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: I don't think it has yet. I guess its in the process.
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: no
Submitted: 10 months ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 10 months ago.

Hello JACUSTOMER,

The issue of HOA dues are really separate from mortgage payments. You indicated that in the divorce you signed over ownership of the house to your ex. Once you did this he became responsible for the HOA dues unless there is something in your divorce decree which indicates that you are responsible for the HOA dues. You should check your divorce decree and see if it says that you are still responsible for HOA dues. If this is not the case, you should notify the HOA and the HOA attorneys that your ex now owns the house and thus he is responsible for the HOA dues.

Thomas

Customer: replied 10 months ago.
My question was not who is responsible for the dues. He is. My question is whether there is a way to get out of this situation. Can the old divorce decree be changed or can I contest it since he is not keeping up payments like agreed.
Customer: replied 10 months ago.
I am afraid he is going to put this into foreclosure which will affect only my credit. And I don't even own it.
Expert:  Thomas Swartz replied 10 months ago.

Yes, it is possible to change the terms of a divorce decree. In order to get a court to modify a divorce decree you must submit proof of a change in circumstances that have taken place since your divorce decree was granted, that were not anticipated, and such that it now causes the terms of your divorce decree to be unreasonable. You would make a motion to the same judge which granted the divorce decree. And I guess the relief you would request is that your ex be ordered to assume the existing mortgages, since he is not making payments, and this would detrimentally affect your credit. This is a change of circumstances which now makes the original decree unreasonable.

Thomas