Divorcing means that you split your entire life from your spouse. Children, friends, assets and debts are just a few examples of the things that must be separated as you end your marriage. If you own a home and there are two names on the mortgage, you must decide what to do with the home and any equity in it.
Whether you are staying in the house or leaving, it is important that you know your options and make the right choice for your future.
Should you sell the house?
Perhaps the easiest way to rid yourself of the joint debt of a mortgage is to sell the home, but it is rarely as simple as it sounds. If you have kids who need a home, forcing them to move can add trauma to an already tough situation. If you owe more on your mortgage than the house is worth and you do not have the cash to pay the difference, it may also be difficult to come out ahead when you sell your home.
Can one spouse afford the payment?
If one spouse decides to stay in the home, he or she must be able to afford the payment on his or her own, with income and any alimony and child support he or she receives. When your ex decides to keep the home, it is important that you refinance and take one person off the mortgage. If you leave the home and your name is still on the mortgage, you are responsible for any payments and debts your ex accrues while living there after you are gone.
Is a loan assumption an option?
It is difficult to get a loan assumption for a mortgage after a divorce, but it is an option in some cases. This means that one spouse keeps the house but does not want to pay fees for a refinance. It often depends on the type of loan and whether your lender is willing to allow one spouse to take over the loan.
What should you do?
If you are considering a divorce and are not sure how to handle the mortgage but want to protect yourself from accumulating unfair debt in the future, you should speak to an attorney immediately to sort through the legal details.