Can I get myself out of a mortgage as a co-signer?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I get myself out of a mortgage as a co-signer?

I co-signed for my cousin 3 years ago and the deal was that I was only going to be on the mortgage for a year. He would have to refinance after the year and now it has been three years and I am stuck in this mortgage where I don’t even live in the house. Ive reached out to him but nothing has been planned to take me out, I’ve thought about taking him to court what should I do?

Asked on February 15, 2017 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, under the circumstances there may not be much that you can do. If your cousin cannot refinace to get a new mortgage in their name, then you will probably have to remain on the existing mortgage. That having been said, you could try to get a what is called a "novation". This involves asking the lender to remove your name from the mortgage. While this is rarely allowed, it is worth a try. A novation could be accomplished by your cousin continuing to pay the mortgage, showing that they have no late payments, and proving that they were the only one paying the mortgage. If so, then the lender may allow your name to be removed.  Also, your cousin may be able to obtain a nova tionif they "buy" your release by making a substantial payment to reduce the outstanding mortgage balance. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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