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'AITA for telling my husband not to co-sign on his ex-wife's house?' UPDATE

'AITA for telling my husband not to co-sign on his ex-wife's house?' UPDATE

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"AITA for telling my husband not to co-sign on his ex-wife's house?"

Here's the original post:

I (34/f) met Stephen (49/m) 2.5 years ago. It was an unexpected love match but I found him to be funny and kind and charming and we had loads in common. We got married about a year ago and everything's been great between us. Stephen was married to Tiffany (49/f) for 7 years, and they divorced 11 years ago. They share a 12 year old son, Taylor.

Tiffany and Stephen both worked in Healthcare and met in school. He's a doctor, she was a nurse. Their relationship ended when Tiffany admitted to infidelity and an affair shortly after Taylor was born. Stephen and Tiffany divorced and she lived with the man she had an affair with for 9 years. She had one child with him and they have since broken up.

She then met another man, and had another child with him. They have also since broken up. This is relevant because several years ago, Tiffany opted to let her nursing license lapse and to stay home with her kids. The three fathers of her kids all pay child support, with Stephen paying the largest amount due to his income. He has no problem with child support and loves his son.

The issue arose after Tiffany's last breakup. She moved into a rental and then tried to get a mortgage approved to buy a house for her and the kids. But because Tiffany doesn't work and only has child support as her income, she cannot qualify to get a mortgage on her own.

She has asked Stephen to cosign and is laying on a heavy guilt trip about it being "what's best for his son" and that his son needs a home with lake access (I don't know why. We live on a lake and Taylor is rarely in the water when he's with us). The home she's currently renting is lovely, spacious, and she can afford it. Taylor has never expressed unhappiness about where they currently live when he's with us.

When Stephen told me this, I flat out told him not to do it. Not only do I not trust Tiffany not to destroy his credit, I also don't understand why she can't go out and get her license and start working again. There is a nursing shortage in our area and they are generously paid. She has family nearby that will happily care for the kids. We'll take Taylor more often.

And if she's unwilling to do this, then why not continue renting. Stephen told me I was being harsh on her and that it's understandable that she wants to own her own home. He's also said that he doesn't think she would damage his credit by defaulting on the mortgage.

I was married before Stephen but I don't have kids. That being said, it cost me thousands to make sure my ex- husband would never have access to my finances again. AITA for thinking that cosigning on a house with his ex is a bad move and that she should go get a job if she wants to own a home?

What do you think she should do? This is what top commenters had to say:

yourlittlebirdie said:

NTA this is a disaster waiting to happen.

Amythist35 said:

Nta it's messy and signing the mortgage means he will have to pay it. Especially since he won't be on the house. It means it's all risk and no reward.

Head-Wrap7430 said:

NTA!!!!!! Holy sh!t, I can’t believe he’s even considering this! I could be wrong, and I’m not sure where you are in the world, but if you two are married this mortgage can effect you negatively as well. Again, I don’t know where you are, but I’m pretty sure it’ll mess with his credit if she defaults.

Isn’t the whole point of a co-signer that if the primary signer won’t pay, they go after the co-signer?? This is absolutely insane to me.

Snoo_68114 said:

Your husband may be a doctor, but he is a fool. If your husband signs, he will be equally if not more liable if she fails to make her payments since HE is the one with a steady income. Plus, this co-signing is not just for his son, but her other two children as well.

He has NO obligation to provide for the other two of her children. She, as your reasonably pointed out, can get a job to provide better accommodations. NTA

Important-Curve-5299 said:

NTA. Seems like ex wife saw the writing on the wall that in 6 years her goose that lays golden eggs in form of monthly child support is going to dry up. In order to keep it going, why not find another one that can last for additional 20+ years?

If your husband is dead set on helping out her ex, you should suggest that only his name should be on the title and ex wife pays him rent. Upon fully paying off the house, he can then transfer the title to her. Obviously you may need a lawyer to draw up this contract but this will protect him.

Verdict: NTA.

He later shared this update on the situation:

Stephen and I had a long talk about this when he got home from his conference. We discussed the issues this raises and we both agreed it's a bad idea that would strain our relationship. He admitted that he was concerned Tiffany would use his refusal to alienate his son, but also knows Taylor is old enough to come directly to him now, if he needs to.

He also apologized for worrying me and assured me he would have never moved forward without my consent, but wanted me to be in the know of what Tiffany was up to. I thanked him for being honest with me about what was happening, and knew I would have felt deceived if he hadn't told me, even if he was saying no to her.

We did discuss the option of buying and renting the home to her, but the idea of maybe being forced to evict her due to non-payment made us both pour another drink. In the end, he messaged his ex that while he will always be there for Taylor, he can't in good faith cosign on a mortgage for her. She saw it and left him on read.

This is about as good an outcome as I could hope for and my husband and I were able to validate each other's feelings and ultimately come to a decision that we feel is right for us. Thank you again for your responses and it's been an interesting day reading all of them. I am now going to return to my quiet, lurker profile.

Sources: Reddit
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