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  1. #1
    McClint is offline Junior Member
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    Arrow Vacating Spouse’s Financial Obligations to Mutual Property

    OHIO

    Hello.

    After a non-legal separation, my spouse vacated our residence a few years back. Both our names are on the deed. I assume she is still under binding obligation to pay half the mortgage regardless of her reason for leaving. However, is my spouse also responsible for half of the utility expenses related to the property since the departure?

    Thanks a Million,

    McClint
  2. #2
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Is her name on the mortgage?

    There are two levels of obligation. One is the legal obligation with creditors. If her name is on the mortgage, then she's equally responsible for the mortgage debt whether she lives in the house, lives down the street, or lives on Mars (although serving her with a subpoena to sue for collection would be hard in that case).

    Then there are the marital obligations - how to deal with marital property. In general, the person who keeps an asset is responsible for all expenses related to that asset. If there were a court ordered divorce or separation, that would certainly be the case. Since you aren't divorced yet, it's not quite as clear, but you have the house, you should be paying all the expenses. If you can't afford it, then work out a deal to sell the house and move somewhere cheaper.
  3. #3
    LdiJ is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McClint View Post
    OHIO

    Hello.

    After a non-legal separation, my spouse vacated our residence a few years back. Both our names are on the deed. I assume she is still under binding obligation to pay half the mortgage regardless of her reason for leaving. However, is my spouse also responsible for half of the utility expenses related to the property since the departure?

    Thanks a Million,

    McClint
    I agree with the response that Misto gave you.

    However, I will add that she certainly would NOT be held responsible for any part of the utilities.
  4. #4
    nextwife is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by LdiJ View Post
    I agree with the response that Misto gave you.

    However, I will add that she certainly would NOT be held responsible for any part of the utilities.
    Not exactly correct. The parties on the mortgage are also, by the mortgage and note terms, responsible to make certain that "no waste" occurs to the property. No freeze ups, no flooded basements due to sump pump failing to run, etc. Additionally, in many areas in which there are municipally run utilities, unpaid water/sewer/electric or gas can be added into the tax bill and create an additional financial cost to the lender if there were a foreclosure. These can be added in to the judgment of foreclosure as part of the default. Therefore, both borrowers bear responsibility to make certain taxes are paid, power is on, sump pump running, sufficient heat is on to avoid freeze up damage, water sewer delinquencies do not get added onto taxes. They still have that responsibility whether they choose to move away or not. They can avoid the heat costs by first winterizing before vacating, but many structures still need their sumps running.
    Last edited by nextwife; 01-28-2010 at 07:28 AM.
  5. #5
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McClint View Post
    OHIO

    Hello.

    After a non-legal separation, my spouse vacated our residence a few years back. Both our names are on the deed. I assume she is still under binding obligation to pay half the mortgage regardless of her reason for leaving. However, is my spouse also responsible for half of the utility expenses related to the property since the departure?

    Thanks a Million,

    McClint
    She is NOT responsible for paying HALF the mortgage. I would be very surprised if the mortgage requires her to pay of the payment each month. Unless a court states otherwise. Nor is she responsible for half of the utilities. If you are living in the home, YOU are responsible for the utilities you use.

    The mortgage note spells out which individuals are responsible for paying the mortgage in its entirety each month. If you are both listed, both of you are required to pay 100% of the mortgage per the credit agreement. A divorce court would most likely make you responsible for the mortgage payment if you are the one receiving benefit from same.

    Misty regarding this:
    If her name is on the mortgage, then she's equally responsible for the mortgage debt whether she lives in the house, lives down the street, or lives on Mars (although serving her with a subpoena to sue for collection would be hard in that case).
    Everyone whose name is on the mortgage is 100% responsible for the mortgage.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.
  6. #6
    McClint is offline Junior Member
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    Arrow Clarification to Aid Response Contradictions

    I’m sorry I didn’t clarify in its entirety. I and my wife are on the deed. Ironically however, I am on the mortgage, and in order to be approved for the mortgage, my wife’s grandmother as well. My wife vacated the residence in a few years ago. A divorce lawyer I saw last November 2009 did say my wife could not just walk out on the responsibility of the house and is still responsible for half the mortgage payments.
    1) Is she also responsible for the maintenance of upkeep of that mutually beneficial asset (ie as member “nextwife” commented on 1/28) as well as utilities to maintain the property from which she will derive benefits of its sale?
    Thanks a Million,
    McClint
  7. #7
    ecmst12 is offline Senior Member
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    I think you will have more luck claiming she is not entitled to any equity which accrued after she moved out then claiming she is responsible for payments, maintenence, or utilities on a property from which she has derived no benefit from, nor does she have any legal responsibility to pay for, since the time she moved out.
  8. #8
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McClint View Post
    I’m sorry I didn’t clarify in its entirety. I and my wife are on the deed. Ironically however, I am on the mortgage, and in order to be approved for the mortgage, my wife’s grandmother as well. My wife vacated the residence in a few years ago. A divorce lawyer I saw last November 2009 did say my wife could not just walk out on the responsibility of the house and is still responsible for half the mortgage payments.
    1) Is she also responsible for the maintenance of upkeep of that mutually beneficial asset (ie as member “nextwife” commented on 1/28) as well as utilities to maintain the property from which she will derive benefits of its sale?
    Thanks a Million,
    McClint
    If her name is not on the mortgage, she has no legal obligation to the bank. You and her grandmother do.

    As for whether she owes YOU the money, you could TRY, but don't count on it. You live there and she doesn't. If the attorney gave you a flat statement that she's responsible for half, I'd suggest consulting with a different attorney. More likely, the attorney didn't get all the facts.

    Nextwife is correct that either or both of you could be responsible if the house is neglected, but in practice, you're the one living there so it's really up to you. If you moved out, as well, your argument that she should pay some of the cost would be stronger. But it's not an issue I'd want to fight. Most likely, the court would say that you were living there so you should pay the utilities.

    As for the home equity? You're married and her name is on the deed. There's nothing in any state law that I know of which requires a person to live in the house to be entitled to their share of the equity. She is entitled to 50% of the marital equity - whether she lives there and contributes to the mortgage or not. In your state, the law specifies that marital equity must be divided equally UNLESS you can prove that this is unfair. That will be hard to do and probably not worth the trouble - the equity of the home has probably not gone up much in the last few years (since she moved out), so even if you could prove that you are entitled to 100% of the marital equity accrued since she moved it, it may not be enough to cover the cost of doing so.
    [url=http://www.divorcenet.com/states/ohio/ohfaq04]Ohio Property Division FAQ's — DivorceNet[/url]
  9. #9
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by ecmst12 View Post
    I think you will have more luck claiming she is not entitled to any equity which accrued after she moved out then claiming she is responsible for payments, maintenence, or utilities on a property from which she has derived no benefit from, nor does she have any legal responsibility to pay for, since the time she moved out.
    In most of the country, home equity hasn't improved much in the couple of years since she moved out, so that argument isn't likely to get very far. If he was paying down large portions of the principal, it might be significant, though.
  10. #10
    McClint is offline Junior Member
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    Arrow Spouse's Responsibility on Property Abandoned Against Consent as Co-Owner

    For further clarification, my spouse abandoned a mutually owned property against my consent. Had my spouse not abandoned the property and all the responsibility and cost to myself, she would have assumed half responsibility for upkeep and expenses. As noted earlier by “mistoffolees” today, my spouse is under obligation by virtue of the fact that she is half owner of the property. This being the case, would my spouse not assume half of the responsibility of upkeep and utilities on my “spouse’s” property? I know the equity in the home is negligible since she abandoned the property and is of no interest to me.

    Thanks a Million,
    McClint
  11. #11
    Zigner is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McClint View Post
    For further clarification, my spouse abandoned a mutually owned property against my consent. Had my spouse not abandoned the property and all the responsibility and cost to myself, she would have assumed half responsibility for upkeep and expenses. As noted earlier by “mistoffolees” today, my spouse is under obligation by virtue of the fact that she is half owner of the property. This being the case, would my spouse not assume half of the responsibility of upkeep and utilities on my “spouse’s” property? I know the equity in the home is negligible since she abandoned the property and is of no interest to me.

    Thanks a Million,
    McClint
    Nope - you and g'ma-in-law are on the financial hook.
  12. #12
    mistoffolees is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McClint View Post
    For further clarification, my spouse abandoned a mutually owned property against my consent. Had my spouse not abandoned the property and all the responsibility and cost to myself, she would have assumed half responsibility for upkeep and expenses. As noted earlier by “mistoffolees” today, my spouse is under obligation by virtue of the fact that she is half owner of the property. This being the case, would my spouse not assume half of the responsibility of upkeep and utilities on my “spouse’s” property? I know the equity in the home is negligible since she abandoned the property and is of no interest to me.

    Thanks a Million,
    McClint
    Did you even bother reading the responses you've already gotten? You've completely distorted my statement, for example.

    Read the comments you've received. Comprehend what you're being told. THEN if you have anything new to say, feel free. Just reiterating your old statements that have already been shot down doesn't do anyone any good.
  13. #13
    McClint is offline Junior Member
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    Clarification

    I'm sorry if I was simply trying to clarify the overall situation.

    I appreciate the lashings though...

    Cheers,

    McClint
  14. #14
    Ohiogal is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by McClint View Post
    For further clarification, my spouse abandoned a mutually owned property against my consent. Had my spouse not abandoned the property and all the responsibility and cost to myself, she would have assumed half responsibility for upkeep and expenses. As noted earlier by “mistoffolees” today, my spouse is under obligation by virtue of the fact that she is half owner of the property. This being the case, would my spouse not assume half of the responsibility of upkeep and utilities on my “spouse’s” property? I know the equity in the home is negligible since she abandoned the property and is of no interest to me.

    Thanks a Million,
    McClint
    Your wife is NOT responsible by virtue of being half owner. Nor is she entitled to half the marital equity. She is entitled -- by virtue of being half owner (being on the deed with one other owner) -- to half the equity total in the house. She is NOT responsible for the mortgage at all. You and the co-signer are responsible for the mortgage. Oh and if grandma is also on the deed (meaning three people are on the deed) then you each are entitled to 1/3 of the equity. You would have to buy out grandma and your wife as well as refinance the mortgage to keep the house.
    Parents should remember 3 things: Love your kids more than you hate your ex; when you have children the relationship with the other parent is until death; your children determine what type of nursing home you end up in.
    Nothing stated by me should be taken as giving you legal advice or forming an attorney/client relationship.

    Attorney-GAL in Ohio.

    I've removed the knife from my back, polished it, and will one day return it -- long after you think I have forgotten.

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