Boston Herald

What if ex’s name is still on deed?

Track them down and get them to sign a new one

- By gary M. Singer Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real

Q: When my husband divorced his former wife, he was awarded the house. We have been married for 10 years and recently paid off the mortgage. We want to remodel the home but do not want to pour more money into the house until her name is taken off of the deed. What can we do? — Melisa

A: Being awarded the house in a divorce does not automatica­lly take your exspouse off the title.

The ex-spouse also needs to deed the house over.

Many divorcing couples are so happy that the suit is stopping that they forget to tie up loose ends.

You will now need to have her sign a deed to your husband.

Hopefully, he still knows where to find her.

Even though so much time has gone by, they are both still bound by the dissolutio­n judgment.

It is ordering her to deed the house to him. If she refuses to do it, he may need to go back to the divorce court to force her to do what she is supposed to do.

Many exes lose touch, and it may be difficult to find her. If this happens, the judge may require that you use your best efforts to locate her before taking a different path to put your home in your husband’s name.

Sometimes an ex-spouse will die without deeding over the property.

When this happens, it may require working with the probate court or her heirs to get things cleared up.

If she is unavailabl­e or unwilling, the first step is to gather copies of the paperwork from the divorce and speak to the attorney who helped him back then.

The attorney will review the paperwork and let you know your options.

While some problems get better over time, this is not one of them.

Even though so much time has gone by, take care of this now before the situation gets even worse. estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Fla. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Associatio­n and is a cohost of the weekly radio show “Legal News and Review.” He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentine­ or follow him on Twitter @GarySinger­Law.

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