Even the most civil divorce can have its fair share of complications. Finances between a divorcing couple are usually the root of divorce stresses, and determining what to do about a mortgage during and after the divorce can raise some justified concerns.
Every divorce has its unique issues, but a great divorce lawyer can help prevent your mortgage payment from becoming one. Here are some helpful tips for navigating the rough waters of divorce and homeownership.
Transferring a Title or Deed Does Not Release Liability
One of the most common mistakes that a couple makes is allowing one partner to simply transfer their interest in the home to the other divorcing spouse. The thought process behind this action is that the transfer relieves the transferring spouse of any liability on the debt.
This is often an unfortunate misunderstanding. Transferring the property does not take someone off of a mortgage. If this is the case and the home goes into foreclosure, everyone on the mortgage remains financially responsible for the debt.
How to Absolve the Fear of Foreclosure
With the help of a qualified divorce attorney that can handle a case that involves a change in mortgage agreements, most couples can move on without the fear of foreclosure looming over the divorce proceedings. Don’t let the attachment to your home become a financial mistake.
If the divorcing couple agrees for one spouse to assume the property, the responsible party can refinance the mortgage. This process will remove liability from the other spouse. However, the assuming spouse must keep in mind that this is essentially starting the mortgage process over and their credit and finances alone will make or break the process.
Unlike a transfer where the title changes names but the responsibility still weighs on the divorcing couple, an assumption means that the assuming party legally takes over all responsibilities of mortgage payments. Like refinancing, this releases the other party from liability should payments fail to be met.
An assumption, however, is not always viable since it is not simply something the husband and wife can just decide to put in the divorce terms on their own. an assumption generally must also be approved at the discretion of the lender which and the proper assumption process must be implemented.
Modify Your Loan
Although this option mainly depends on your lender and their willingness to comply, loan modification is another approach to this situation once the divorce is finalized. Loan modification can remove one spouse from the entire mortgage and allows the remaining owner to apply for a loan modification on their own.
Sell the Home
Some couples may just want to start over with a clean slate and not go through the process of removing anyone from a mortgage loan. If this is the case, selling the home and splitting the profits is a common resolution that many couples agree on in their divorce decrees. Although this is a relieving solution, couples must remember that mortgage payments must continue to be paid until the sale is final
Other Creative Options
Sometimes the attorneys and parties can craft a creative solution to the mortgage liability problem such arranging for a sale or refinance of the home at a later date while providing liens or other safeguards and remedies to the grantor which minimize his or her risk.
Tackle All of Your Divorce Hurdles with Marx, Altman & Johnson
If your divorce involves complications like property division, child custody, or child support, get the help you need from a team of Dallas divorce lawyers that know Texas law from the inside, out.
At Marx, Altman & Johnson, we are committed to helping each of our clients understand the divorce process to their fullest extent. Let us help you reach a resolution that helps you move on with your life. Contact us today to learn more about our services.