Divorce and Your Mortgage

This is a serious rant, so if you aren’t in the mood to listen to me bitch about what to many is trivial bullshit, Stop Reading.  I also curse.

My ex stopped paying the mortgage on our jointly owned house in October.  He is living with his GF, and I am in our house with our 15 year old son.  I’ve been dying to sell the house, but without a divorce agreement it was not a wise move.

Here’s my issue:   Bank of America has no process in place to handle this situation.

How can that be?  Are we the 1st couple to divorce, have one move to a new address and one stay in the original address?  Are we the 1st couple not communicating??  Am I the 1st women ever who doesn’t want her ex to have her new phone number?

Here’s whats happening.

When he stopped paying the mortgage he changed his address on the mortgage to his GF’s address.  Initially, all mail went to his new address, meaning I had no information regarding the mortgage.  Eventually I got in touch with my “case manager”.  He put both of our names into the system at both addresses.  So, 2 months after my ex stopped paying the mortgage I got 11 pieces of mail on one day.  Some were addressed to me at my address, some to me at his new address.  Some were addressed to him at our home address, some to his new address.  Most were certified, meaning that my mail person certified they had been delivered to the address on the envelope.  Except they Weren’t.  The ones addressed to his GF’s house came to my house.  WTF was all I could say to this.  (apparently the mail person simply needs to push a button to “certify” a letter has been properly delivered.  &, they can do so even if it’s a lie).

I wrote a long letter to the mortgage company outlining our circumstances and my income.  I heard nothing back.  In mid-January a Judge court ordered my  ex to make a mortgage payment, which included fines and fees, on January 20th.  He made that payment.  (actually, the judge ordered him to send it to me; he sent it to our lender.  Whatever)

A few days later I got a notice from the bank that we had been approved for a mortgage modification.  To accept this we needed to either 1) make a  payment or 2) sign the form and send it back.  I was directed to call an 800 number to talk about this.

Let me repeat:

My Ex & I Do Not Speak.

 This Will Not Change.  

I Will Not Allow It To Change.  

Am I the 1st woman ever in this situation?

I called the 800 number.  Before I could even begin speaking the customer service rep said “I see that you’ve accepted the terms of the modification and made the 1st payment”  [we have to make 3 payments for the modification to become permanent]. I said “umm….cool, yeah, that’s what happened”.  According to this 1st rep our 1st payment was made, we were scheduled for a second payment in March and a 3rd in April.  After those payments, Bank Of America will take 60-90 days to make our modification permanent.  It is only in making the modification permanent that the back fees and penalties are removed.  So, it’s important to me that the modification be made permanent.  Does that make sense?

A week went by and I had thought of some other questions, so I called to speak with my “case manager”.  I wasn’t able to get to him.  I wasn’t able to get a direct phone line or an email address for him.  I was assured , by a 2nd customer service rep,that the January 20th payment had been recorded as our 1st modified payment, and we owed nothing till March.  I tried to ask my other questions, like what if I sell the house before we are “approved for permanent modification” but it was clear that this rep had no idea how to answer me.  I hung up and tried the next day.  3rd rep.  Again, I’m assured that we’ve made our 1st payment, but now the rep is not sure if the 2nd payment is due in February or March.  After 20 minutes I say “thanks – got to go”.  I call a 4th time.  Again, I get a different rep.  I am again assured that the 1st payment has been recorded, but the rep is uncertain, Again, about the other questions I have.

I asked “how do I get in touch with my actual case manager?”.  I’m told the only way to do this is to schedule a time for him to call me.  Which would be great, except that him calling me means that my phone number becomes part of our record and is then accessible to my ex.

Honestly …… am I the only one?

This morning I called, got my 5th rep who assured me all was well and, when I insisted I speak with my actual case manager said “well, you can keep calling back and hope he is free to talk to you”.   So, I called every 10 minutes from 1045 till 12:00.  I learned that when a voice answered with a name other than his to just say “never mind” and hang up.  Otherwise I was on the phone for 10 minutes verifying who I was, only to tell them I didn’t want to talk to them.   At 12:00 the impossible happened:  My actual case manager answered the phone!

After the 5 minutes it took to verify who I was,  I interrupted his scripted 5 minute speech and said “Keith, can you tell me if the payment made in January was recorded as our 1st payment” to which he replied  “well,,,,,no”.  Keep in mind that I’ve been told by 4 other reps this was done!  Keith is lovely and he says “stay  on the phone while I take care of this”.  At 12:30 he has verified that we have made our 1st of 3 payments.  (I hope).  I have 6 other questions to ask and, if i do the math, I am looking at a phone call of another 3 hours.  I can’t do that.  So I ask if I can email him, which is what I really wanted in the 1st place.  One email, in which I ask all of my questions, and get back, in writing, actual factual answers.  “Of course”, he says.  He gets my email address and sends me the link the their “portal”.  In this portal I can send my actual case manager an actual email.

Care to guess what happens next?  Come on……..take a guess.

I happily go to their portal.  I set up my user name and password, then I set up answers to the 6…, yes SIX, security questions that will gain me access to my case manager.  I click next, so relieved I’ll get email access to my case manager.  Denied.  “Please call this 800 number for assistance”.

I wish I had tracked the amount of time I’ve spent on this.  It has been days.  & here’s the thing:  it’s not just the time.  Every minute I spend punching in numbers, waiting on hold, verifying the same information, explaining my situation to a new customer service rep, waiting to see if I can possibly trust their answers, all of this time I’m stressed.  For me that means that my asthma is kicking in, my immune system is going crazy and I’m opening myself up to a serious illness.  What part of this don’t corporations get??

I take a deep breath and call the number.  Here’s what happens when you call the number.  You put in your loan #.  You verify the last 4 digits of your social security number, then you wait.  And wait.  And wait.  Eventually, a new customer service rep comes on the line.  She takes me through the 10 minute verification process and eventually I get to tell her my problem.   I say “look, I know this isn’t your fault but why can’t I access the portal?”.  She tells me it is because I”m not the “primary” on the loan.  Really????  Both of our names are on the loan, we are equal partners on the loan, but he is “primary”???

She suggests that she help me, which I decline, given the fact that 4 reps gave me bad information.  She then says that if I give her my phone number I can set up a call with my “case  manager”.  Again, am I the only divorcee who doesn’t want her ex to have her new phone number?  Because I’ve been told, repeatedly, that if I submit my phone number for my case manager to call it will become part of our record, and accessible to my ex.  She tells me she will put a note with my phone number stating it is not to become part of my record, and she schedules an appointment for a Monday call with my case manager.

Honestly, do any of us believe that my phone number will not become part of our case file?  Because I don’t.  I’m pretty sure that my ex will have my new phone number in a matter of days.  And, the phone call on Monday will take 3 hours.  And, call me crazy but I feel pretty certain that regardless of what he assures me of, verbally on the phone in a way I can’t prove, the information will be iffy at best.

So, in a nutshell, Bank of America has no plan in place for divorcing couples who are not speaking.  They also have no provision for ensuring the confidentiality of one’s phone number, they have customer service reps who give incorrect answers, and they have no way for a “non-primary” loan holder to ensure that questions are being answered correctly.  Well, unless the non-primary can spend days on the phone.  Which apparently still doesn’t ensure accuracy.  And, they have no way of noting that each person on the loan has a different address and correspondence should go to both addresses.

This is why I write.  As I’ve written, the solution has come to me.  If he is the primary then he is the one who needs to get the questions answered.  So, when I’m done here I’ll send an email to him with all of the issues we need to answers to.  I’ll tell him that he needs to secure answers because he is the “primary”.  And I’ll cc my attorney.  And I will wash my hands of the whole thing.

Except one nagging little question:  why is He the Primary????


PS:  My son is a loan officer and I told him this story last night.  His 1st question was “why is he Primary?  You’re equal partners”





2 thoughts on “Divorce and Your Mortgage

  1. Crazy isn’t it? WIth all the divorce in the world you’d think banks would accommodate us. Aside from our business we have no other joint holdings. When he moved out he cancelled the one credit card I had in our business name and i never had anything with him. That said he’ll continue to dick me running up bills at the business. In the end though he’s the hollow shell of a man. Stuff him full of $ and he’ll still be empty.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I feel for you. Not that it will help you, but I had a similar situation (just ranting). Our mortgage came with a pull-down separate-but-attached loan account, meaning that we could withdraw equity for home improvements etc. It must be repaid when the mortgage was repaid- this was Barclays Bank in the UK. When divorcing and asking for redemption figures, they wrote to say they would automatically open us a new joint checking account. I wrote, I rang to say no, but guess what? They still did, but I didn’t know as I didn’t have any more correspondence from them. I only discovered it when I tried to financially separate from my ex on credit agencies (do this, by the way). They then politely explained that I needed my ex’s signature to close the account despite the fact I had expressly forbidden them to open it in my name. It took a letter to Head Office for them to concede that they would graciously close it. Grrrr! Try that? Watch your blood pressure ….


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