Moving On and Moving Out: Managing a Mortgage After Divorce
The decision to divorce is often emotional and difficult, and the minefield of legal and financial actions that follow add to an already stressful situation. There will be important choices to make when it comes to dividing up joint property and assets, and while it’s never an easy process, knowing what happens to a mortgage after the marriage ends can help.
Make sure the mortgage gets paid.
If your name is on the mortgage, you are a responsible party until either the house gets sold, the mortgage is paid off, or your name is removed from the mortgage through refinancing. As Forbes notes, even if your name comes off the title, it’s not the same as being removed from the mortgage. And even if it’s your spouse living in the house, the bank still considers you a co-owner. To protect your credit, make sure those payments get made.
Sell to your ex, or buy the home back.
If one person wants to keep the house, he or she has the option to refinance the home under just their name. Note that if you opt to go this route, you’ll need to qualify for the refinancing with your own assets. Accommodations can sometimes be made concerning the division of other assets and monies to enable one spouse to take over the payments. If you’re the one giving up the home, your name needs to be officially removed from the mortgage loan to ensure your ability to qualify for other loans down the line.
A clean break
If one person keeping the house proves to be contentious, or you both want to make a fresh start, you may decide to sell. Note that a sale is a more viable option if you have equity in your house and can split the profits. If you owe more on the mortgage than the house is worth, you might consider renting the home to build up equity, or speaking with your lender about your options. to a “short sale” of your home.
Ask for help
To help you sort through any difficulties along the way, lean on your attorney, your accountant or other experts to help you find the right path. Our mortgage specialists can give you more information about your mortgage options, including refinancing.