I will reprint the whole question as asked:

Can I refinance the house and get the formerly joint mortgage in just my name without any additional paperwork? I am getting divorced and have a quick claim deed on my home from my former spouse.
I live in Florida.

Note: Read Our Top Five Mortgage Complaints!

My answer:

Yes, the “Quit Claim Deed”…not “quick”…everyone makes that mistake…so no worries…is all you need to show you own the property solely.

As the sole owner, you can refinance it …and you should…to place the mortgage solely in your name as well as changing the title.

You may have to wait until the divorce is final…and probably should given you may need to prove alimony or child support payments to help qualify for the new mortgage on your own.

Many divorcing couples have a deal where one spouse withholds the Quick Claim Deed until the other spouse takes their name off the mortgage (and maybe gets a cash payment too for their half of the equity) by refinancing.

The timing of this type of buyout refinance goes like this:

1. The spouse keeping the house applies for a refinance to replace the old joint mortgage with a new mortgage solely in their name.
2. The spouse relinquishing the house attends the refinance closing to insure the mortgage is no longer in their name, to collect any monies owed, and to execute the Quit Claim Deed.
3. Many times the relinquishing spouse also wants their share of the equity, so the refinance loan is often a “cash-out” refinance where the cash is used to payoff the relinquishing spouse. Of course, to facilitate this, the home must have a equity to tap. Many homes in today’s market don’t have enough equity to do a “cash out” refinance.

Why would a spouse want their share of the equity in cash and withhold the Quit Claim Deed until they had it?

One reason is the relinquishing spouse may have contributed a sizable part of the down payment at purchase and simply wants it back since they will no longer have any ownership rights once the divorce is final.

Another reason is in most states regardless of who put down the money to buy the home, once the couple is married and takes joint title, they both have an automatic undivided 50 percent interest in ownership. So they siimply want what is rightfully theirs.

Some times this type of “Deed for Equity” deal is part of the divorce settlement and becomes a legal mandate once the judge signs the final divorce decree.

Either way, the relinquishing spouse may want to buy a house of their own post divorce so they need their share of the equity to use as down payment on a new home.

It is funny, this poor market we are in now and the inability for one spouse to “buy out” the other using the home’s equity, has been credited recently for a drop in the divorce rate. It seems the bad housing market is not conducive to deals like the one I outlined above.

They even have a name for it…

It’s called “sleeping with the enemy”…this inability to get divorced because of the impossibility of selling or refinancing the family home.

This “re-individualizing” your debts doesn’t only apply to the mortgage.

Remember to cancel all joint credit cards and reapply as sole applicants.

If you keep any joint accounts, even if the divorce decree says those debts are your spouses…and he/she makes late payments…your credit gets damaged!

Don’t do it.

Separate all joint accounts as early as possible.

Thanks for the question…


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