North Royalton, OH asked in Divorce and Real Estate Law for Ohio

Q: Do I have to pay an old lien on my ex's house?

He was awarded the house but my name stayed on the deed and mortgage for one year because he did not qualify to take over the payments. He wants to sell the house and found out that a lien (we did not know about previously) was placed against the house during our marriage for debt in my name. Property division for the divorce states that he shall indemnify, defend and hold harmless Wife from any and all debs, obligations, expenses, loans, claims or liability arising from or connected with Wife's continued ownership of the property. Am I responsible to pay the lien or did he accept responsibility when he signed this clause? The debt is in my name, but it was debt from our marriage that we both benefitted from, which is why I don't think it's fair that I would now have to pay it.

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1 Lawyer Answer
Joseph Jaap
Joseph Jaap
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Licensed in Ohio

A: In a divorce, it is important to check real estate titles to find any liens that might have been filed. He won't be able to sell the house without somebody paying the lien to get it released. If he wants to sell the house, he could pay the lien, and then file with the court to determine if you are responsible to reimburse him for any part of it. Or he could file with the court now for the court to make that determination, but that would delay his sale. If it was a marital debt, the lien isn't really related to your continued ownership of the house. Talk to the attorney who handled your divorce or use the Find a Lawyer tab to review the entire divorce decree and separation agreement to determine exactly what it says.

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