Home liens not always released through divorce
Disentangling joint finances and jointly owned property is part of the process of property division in the case of a divorce. The challenges of the process are increased if there is a lien placed on jointly owned property as a result of the actions of one of the individuals in the partnership. In a divorce in Ohio, those liens may need to be addressed in order to ensure an equitable outcome for both parties.
This was the case for a woman whose ex-husband had failed to pay alimony and child support to his previous ex-wife. The state placed a lien on their jointly owned property. When they divorced, he left the home but she stayed, and she likely had to contend with the lien that was the result of his missed payments before she could sell or refinance the mortgage.
One adviser suggested that the woman contact the agency that filed the lien on the house in order to request that they handle the debt collection using other methods, such as wage garnishment, which would release the lien on the house. Such an action could take time and require the assistance of a lawyer. If the house is sold and there is not enough equity to pay the lien, the back payments would still be owed by the ex-husband, and the woman would be released from the financial obligations.
Because these laws vary from state to state, a family law lawyer might be needed in order to deal with a lien on jointly owned property. Divorce lawyers may also assist with mediation, negotiation and advocacy, which might reduce the amount of worry in a potentially stressful situation.
Source: FOX Business, “Will Divorce Release You From Home Lien?“, Steve Bucci, January 10, 2014