The impact of divorce on a couple’s mortgage
There’s nothing easy about the dissolution of a marriage, especially one that has lasted a long time and in which the couple has acquired significant assets and properties. Divorce for anyone with assets can mean financial trouble on top of the other challenges that come with the end of a marriage.
According to experts, the end of a marriage is comparable to the end of a business partnership and should be treated as such. A divorce decree should establish the ownership of credit card debts, vehicles and other properties.
Any house acquired during marriage is probably the largest investment a couple has made during marriage — and the divorce decree should also establish exactly who owns it.
Unfortunately, a court cannot order a lending institution to put the mortgage in the name of one or the other of the divorcing spouses, so a couple can still be tied together by a mortgage and liens even after a divorce is finalized.
This can cause trouble for the spouse who no longer lives in the house if the other falls behind in making house payments — even if it’s just once. The other party’s credit score can take a long-term black mark that’s hard to erase even if he or she believes they are no longer financially responsible for the property. This could mean financial problems later if current or potential creditors find a record of late mortgage payments for the home.
Both parties have an interest in making sure the property is refinanced in the name of whoever ends up owning and paying for the house — just like with other debts and liens.
Even the best divorce can be traumatic, so getting sound financial advice from a qualified legal professional can be make the difference and prevent problems from showing up later.
Source: Summitdaily.com, “Financial Facts: How divorce affects your mortgage,” Bob Kieber, April 13, 2013