Naperville, IL asked in Real Estate Law and Family Law for Illinois

Q: Back in 1997 I was married and my then husband purchased a house.

I had to sign "Solely for the purpose of waiving homestead rights" It states that right on the documents. He was the guarantor. Not me. We are divorced and have been for 22 years. He is now in default on that loan and it is coming up on my credit report. The mortgage company won't remove it. What should I do? I'm in illinois

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1 Lawyer Answer
David Giffin
David Giffin
  • Urbana, IL
  • Licensed in Illinois

A: Under Illinois law, married couples can be held jointly responsible for certain debts that arise during a marriage, even if only one spouse signs off on the debt. Solely waiving your homestead rights would likely not affect or limit this legal rule. Assuming you or your family lived in the home your then-husband purchased, you may still be legally on the hook for the debt.

I suggest that you find the documents and court filings from your divorce case and review them carefully. The circuit court where your divorce was finalized will likely have copies in its archives. Hopefully, the final court orders (either a judgment or approved settlement agreement) contain language stating that your ex is solely responsible for the mortgage debt associated with the home. If so, that is potentially helpful to you. But if the orders don't say that, or if the company still refuses to address the issue for some other reason, you may have more problems.

You may want to hire a commercial attorney or family attorney to assist you. There could be other legal defenses or options out there that are not apparent from the facts you shared in your question. You should act quickly, as some defenses may have time limits, and your credit score will likely continue to drop until this is handled. Good luck.

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