Modify Your Mortgage: The Non-Borrowing Spouse

by Mary in North Carolina and by Sandra in Washington

Ask Kate about modifying a mortgage without your non-borrowing spouse: Mary's brother was approved for a HAMP loan modification and finished his trial payments. When papers came to finalize the modification, his ex-wife's signature was suddenly required because, although she is not on the mortgage, she is on title. Well, this IS a twist!


In Sandra's divorce, she received the house and her ex-husband signed a quit claim. Now Sandra's mortgage company is requiring his signature on the mortgage loan modification documents.

What are Mary's and Sandra's options?

Does Non-Borrowing Spouse Have to Sign HAMP Modification Paperwork

By Mary in North Carolina
HAMP Modification Agreement: Does Non-Borrowing Spouse Have to Sign Paperwork

Kate, My brother was approved for a HAMP modification and made the trial payments.

When papers came to sign to finalize it, they require his exwife to sign as non-borrower spouse who acknowledges modification but has no personal liability on the note.

The lender says it is a Fannie Mae loan requirement in North Carolina that the original signers sign the agreement. However, she was not on the note, just the deed of trust.

Since they were married and lived in North Carolina, she would have to be on the deed of trust for a good title.

I have sent copies of the divorce and property settlement but lender still says she must sign. We even took to an attorney who doesn't think she should have to sign but doesn't know all the Fannie Mae requirements.

We are trying to get her to sign but if she won't then foreclosure will start. Do you have any knowledge or suggestions for help on this? I am desperately seeking someone to help. Thank you.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: HAMP Modification Agreement and Does Non-Borrowing Spouse Have to Sign Paperwork

Hi Mary,

My advice is short and simple! Call Fannie Mae directly.

Many homeowners with a Fannie Mae mortgage do not know that this government sponsored entity (GSE) has an open door policy to their borrowers. I suggest you call Fannie Mae and ask if the lender's policy that requires a non-borrowing ex-spouse to sign the modification agreement is indeed theirs also, as the lender indicates.

I am hopeful that Fannie Mae can help. Here is why: Solving Your HAMP Loan Modification Predicaments, even though your brother's situation is actually opposite. (His ex-wife in on the title but not obligated on the mortgage.)

Of course, I am not privy to the full set of circumstances surrounding your mortgage history. But Fannie Mae will be. So while you have Fannie on the phone, don't hesitate to ask for alternate solutions if the lender's guideline truly turns out to be a requirement of the state of North Carolina.
Call 800-7FANNIE for your nearest Fannie Mae Mortgage Help Center Network where you can get help by telephone, email, and in-person.
Best wishes,


Modify Your Mortgage When Ex-Spouse Remains a Borrower

By Sandra in Moses Lake, Washington
How to Modify Your Mortgage When Ex-Spouse Is a Borrower


I have recently received my modification documents. I live in Washington State and I have been divorced since 2007.

In my divorce, I received the house and my ex signed a quit claim. Now my mortgage company is requiring his signature on these documents.

I am almost sure he will not agree. Is this a requirement on HUD's behalf or can I find a way out of having him sign?


***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: Modify Your Mortgage When Ex-Spouse Remains a Borrower

Hi Sandra,

Besides reading Mary's letter, (see above), you'll need to find out who backs your mortgage to know who to contact for the straight scoop.
Here is how to determine if Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac backs your mortgage: Does Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac Own My Mortgage.
But you mentioned HUD so perhaps have an FHA home loan. If so, you can contact HUD at CALL-FHA (800-225-5342) to pose the same question.

However, you should be aware that lenders often pile on additional requirements (overlays) during the loan approval process. To understand overlays, go to Overcoming Those Frustrating Lender Overlays.

Then, when you call the backer of your mortgage, ask if they allow the mortgage company or loan servicer to add their own requirements when it comes to non-borrowing spouses during the loan modification process.

Of course, should the backer of your mortgage turns out to be another entity, all bets may be off. But it would still be wise to call them and ask if they will get involved to help you modify your mortgage without the signature of your non-borrowing spouse.

And by the way, there is no need to be apologetic when you place the phone call. It is also in their best interest to get your mortgage modified.

Best wishes,


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