Divorce: Who’s responsible for the Mortgage?

Divorce And Mortgages

Most homeowners have mortgages. Having a mortgage is a large responsibility. Add to that the complexities of a divorce and it can become more than overwhelming, complicated, and an unsettling situation.

Often the question of who is responsible for the mortgage comes up. The answer is: Whoever signed the promissory note and mortgage to the bank. If you are unsure whether you are liable on the mortgage, you can go online and look it up at the Registry of Deeds in the county you live in. If both spouses are on the note, it is up to them to agree how it is going to get paid every month or ask a judge to make the decision. Without this understanding, credit can be destroyed for both individuals. Whether the costs are being split 50/50 or 20/80, a timely payment must be made each month.

The easiest way to separate yourselves from the mortgage is to sell the property or for one person to refinance and obtain a mortgage in his/her name alone. This is typically done if one of the spouses chooses to stay in the home.

A temporary order or separation agreement (which is what a divorce agreement is usually called) will spell out who is responsible for the expenses of jointly held real estate. A separation agreement can be enforced by the court. If the other spouse doesn’t pay his or her share, it will affect the other spouses’scredit. While the court can order the disobedient party to pay up, the damage to the innocent spouse’s credit is not something the court can fix..

Once the divorce is finalized or approaching, if you are looking to buy a new home or to refinance, your mortgage lender will most likely need to see the final divorce decree. Mortgage lending regulations have changed drastically over the past few years, so be sure to check with the underwriter to be fully informed as to what you will need.

For further information about divorce or how to handle divorce and your current mortgage situation, please contact Patricia S. Fernandez & Associates to learn more about the process.  Pat and her team can help you answer your questions.

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