What Happens to Your Mortgage During Divorce? A Three-Step Guide

There are certain mortgage issues that you’re likely to face if you get a divorce, and while this can be a complicated situation, it’s not unsurmountable. Here are the questions that need to be answered.

Is one of you planning to stay in the house?

More often than not, a divorcing couple hopes to split the house and each take a share within the divorce settlement. This requires, of course, selling the house, with the associated expense. If you’ve agreed that one of you will keep the house and live in it, that person will have to qualify for a mortgage alone—without the benefit of the other person’s credit. Or, the person who wants to stay may need to refinance the existing mortgage so they can free up enough cash to buy out the ex.

Can the person staying truly afford it?

In either case, the person who wants to keep the house has to be realistic about whether they can afford not only the mortgage but all the associated maintenance costs. One strategy is to figure out a) how much mortgage you can afford on your own, and b) how much mortgage you can qualify for. If it’s impossible to bring these numbers into agreement, it’s going to be difficult for that person to keep the house alone.

Is your divorce attorney an expert in mortgages?

This isn’t necessarily a given. It’s suggested that you seek the advice of a secondary attorney or loan specialist if your primary divorce attorney is not well-versed in mortgage guidelines. Ensure you seek the advice of a qualified mortgage attorney or other mortgage professional during the settlement process.