Question: My ex got the house in our divorce settlement. I was told that he was not required to refinance, so of course the loan is still in my name as well. He makes late payments with depressing regularity. This is reflected on my credit score. Do I have any recourse?
Answer:Sadly, not much. As long as your name is on the loan, the late payments will show up on your credit reports and affect your credit scores. That will remain true until he sells the house, refinances the loan or -- heaven forbid -- loses the house to foreclosure.
The late payments and other black marks remain for seven years from the time they land on your credit reports. So if he keeps this loan for an additional 20 years or so and continually pays late, your credit could be affected for the next 27 years.
And as you probably know, late payments send your credit scores reeling. Someone with great credit can lose 100 points from a single payment that's 30 days overdue.
Sorry to depress you. But your situation shows why it's so important to close joint accounts and refinance jointly held loans before the divorce is final. Now, your only hope is to persuade him to refinance, which will be an uphill battle with his presumably awful scores. Or perhaps he'll meet a nice, financially responsible lady and she'll take over the payments. Got any friends you can introduce to him?
More Q&A from LA Times.