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Can you keep your mortgage after a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 9, 2023 | Family Law |

House prices have changed a lot recently. When you first bought your home, you and your spouse got a mortgage together, and it was very affordable. But you’re not sure you could even buy the same house today.

As you and your spouse get a divorce, this means that you decide you want to keep the house. You’re grateful to have it and you know you probably cannot buy a similar one on your own. But you also don’t want to get a new mortgage with altered terms or rates. Is it possible for you to keep your own mortgage and the house?

Why you may need to refinance

Technically, it is possible. Say that you buy out your spouse’s share of the house with other assets that the two of you owned. You give up other things that you wanted, and they give up their 50% of the house. If you ask them, they can certainly agree to stay on the mortgage with you, just as they were when you were married. This means the mortgage does not have to change.

However, it would also mean that your ex is responsible for the money that you owe on the house. You may assure them that this is fine and that you will always make the payments. But the problem, for them, is that they are taking a risk. If you do stop making those payments at some point in the future, creditors will start calling.

This is why most people who get divorced will at least want their spouse to refinance the mortgage when taking over the family home. This removes that person’s name so that they will never have any future liability for the house.

This can add some complications. There are situations in which people cannot afford the mortgage on their own, even though they could afford it when they were married. Changes to home prices and interest rates can also impact what a mortgage looks like today, versus when you bought your house. In other words, the whole process can become very complicated, and it’s quite important to understand all of the legal steps you can take.