What if My Husband Refuses to Pay the Mortgage?

by Leigh Thompson
Most couples fight over money during the relationship.

Estranged spouses often fight about money. Money is a weapon used in a divorce proceeding to hurt the other spouse. Refusing to pay the mortgage hurts your credit score and places the home in jeopardy of foreclosure. When your husband refuses to pay the mortgage, you must make up the difference to protect your credit score. If your husband is required to pay the mortgage by court order, you must take him back to court to get the bill paid.

Default

Refusing to pay the mortgage results in a default on your mortgage contract. Your lender immediately begins with payment demand letters and phone calls. After a certain period of time, the lender files for foreclosure on the property. You get a specified period of time -- established by state law -- to cure the default on your mortgage. Failure to bring your payments current results in a foreclosure auction. Your lender sells the property at auction and you no longer own it. If you had a judicial foreclosure, the lender may pursue a deficiency judgment for the amount left owed on the loan.

Divorce Decree

Couples going through a divorce often establish during the proceedings who gets the property. The divorce decree outlines who gets the property and who is responsible for paying the bill. Even though the divorce decree is a court order, the lender may still pursue collection efforts against the innocent party. You signed the mortgage note; you are responsible for paying the bill. The default shows up on your credit report, hinders your ability to get future credit and places you in financial hardship.

Contempt of Court

If your husband was ordered in a divorce decree to pay and refuses, you could take him back to court. The judge could find him in contempt of court for refusal to abide by the decree. The judge could force his hand to make him pay the mortgage balance due. You incur additional attorney's fees and costs going this route.

Options

Contact the lender and explain the situation. Place the account on a payment plan to keep the house out of foreclosure. You may end up paying the bill to protect your credit while you seek remedy in divorce or civil court. Talk to your spouse about selling the property. If neither of you want to pay for it, selling it may be your best option to save your credit scores and financial stability.

Avoid Foreclosure

If you cannot sell the property outright, you may consider a short sale. A short sale occurs when you sell the house for less than what is owed on the property. You might also consider applying for a loan modification using the separation or divorce as the reason for hardship. You can lower your monthly mortgage payments to a reasonable level to catch up on the arrears.

About the Author

Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.

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