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Client Success Story: Struggle Over Marital Property During Divorce



Situation


During a divorce, many unresolved issues can arise regarding the marital home. When one spouse is very manipulative, they can force the other’s hand. As a result, people often make uninformed decisions that infringe on their rights as property owners.

In this case, the agreement between the parties in the divorce was that her husband would refinance the property to save the home from foreclosure. His plan was to continue living in the home with his children.



Challenge


For this to occur, he needed his father’s help to refinance the property. His father was either unwilling or unable to do so, and as a result, refinancing wasn’t available. The husband then tried to have our client sign a quitclaim deed, which we advised against, as this would have given him total control of the property. Despite our client following our advice, we later learned her husband sought a modification of the mortgage which was approved. Unfortunately, he received approval by forging his wife’s signature to make it appear as though both parties wanted the modification.



Solution


The reason we advised against the quitclaim of the property was because were our client to remain on the mortgage, she would have lost control of the property. Because her husband forged her signature, she had no say over the modifications he arranged with the bank.

Our client’s goal was to be removed from the mortgage so her husband could take on the financial responsibility and she would finally have the financial ability to buy a home in her name alone. This also required that our client be removed from the title. Had her husband refinanced with his father’s help--as planned based on the terms of the divorce--our client could have deeded the property to him and been freed of the debts associated with the mortgage. With both names on the title, the lender’s hands were tied since they needed signatures from both parties. By refusing the quitclaim deed, our client maintained control over the mortgage.



Outcome


While her husband received the modification, he couldn't maintain the payments and had to sell the property. He didn't pay attention to what the payoff was, as opposed to the value of the property. Consequently, he wound up selling it as a short sale instead of as a conventional sale.


Our client remained on the mortgage, and therefore had control. Had she signed the quitclaim, she would have relinquished control of the property to her husband. By heeding our advice, she was able to say yes or no so the transaction couldn’t go through without her agreement.


As it stands, the short sale can and probably will take place. She’ll finally be off the mortgage and title while also stopping her husband from taking any action she didn’t agree to relating to the property.




The Minchella & Associates Difference


With over 40 years of experience in Illinois real estate law, Erica Minchella has represented thousands of home sellers and buyers, landlords and commercial and investment property owners. For more information, schedule a consultation today.


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