I was awarded the house in my divorce, but my ex has refused to sign the deed. The mortgage is only in my name. What can I legally do?
My answer likely applies to most, if not all jurisdictions, so check with a lawyer in your own state, if you don’t live in Utah (where I practice law) before taking action, but my answer should give you a fairly good overview of at least one option that’s likely available to you.
If the decree of divorce (or some other order of the court that awarded you title to the house contains all of the language (usually the complete legal description, sometimes the legal description and the tax parcel identification number) necessary to constitute a document that transfers title, you can file your decree of divorce with the county recorder in the county where the property is located and that should suffice to transfer title.
If you cannot simply file the decree with the county recorder, or for some reason you want a transfer deed signed, you can 1) move the court to hold your ex in contempt of court for refusing to comply with the orders of the court and fine your ex and/or jail your ex unless and until he complies; and/or 2) move the court to grant someone other than your ex (such as you, the court, or some other person) the power to sign over the deed on your ex’s behalf.
(Now I know you want to ask this next question, but you’re likely too shy to ask) Is this something you can do on your own, without an attorney? Yes, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Dealing with real estate legal issues can be tricky and cause you a lot of grief (sometimes irreparable grief) if you handle them improperly the first time around. Get a lawyer who knows what he/she is doing to help you with this. It shouldn’t be terribly time-consuming or expensive, and it’s a good investment.
Utah Family Law, LC | divorceutah.com | 801-466-9277