This is especially true in Iowa, where the mortgage is VOID if not signed by both husband and wife. V-O-I-D. As in, it has no effect, means nothing, rubbish, bird cage liner. Wells Fargo found out the hard way recently when they were not allowed to foreclose their mortgage lien because the wife did not sign the mortgage. They came in pretty cocky with all kinds of fancy legal theories why they should be able to foreclose anyway. The judges said nope. Only they used a few more words than that. And no it does not matter that you are in the process of getting a divorce, legally separated, or even just generally annoyed with your spouse.
What I think trips people up is that there are three different things we are talking about here:
- Who is in title, or who owns the property? Only the individuals named on the deed own the property.
- Who owes the money? Only the individuals who sign the promissory note owe money to the lender.
- Who signs the mortgage? The more the merrier from the lender's perspective. Everyone who owns the property MUST sign the mortgage. Everyone who signs the note should sign it. The spouse(s) of everyone who owns the property MUST sign it. Signing the mortgage does not mean you owe money. It only means you agree to give up your rights to the property if the payments are not made by whoever signed the note.