Divorcing spouses who own a home together know they must figure out what to do with their shared home going forward. For families with young children, there may be a particularly strong desire to retain the home as a means of providing some consistency for the kids. Other people who have put a lot of work into their homes may feel equally tied to their property and wishing to keep it. Either way, the decision to keep a home after a divorce should not be made lightly.
Joint mortgages mean joint responsibility
As explained by HSH, a consumer mortgage resource, a bank considers any person named on a mortgage to be responsible for paying that debt. This means that if a couple agrees to let one spouse keep a house without making any changes to the existing joint mortgage, the person who leaves the home could still end up being expected to pay the mortgage by the bank. A divorce decree outlining responsibility for the home loan to one person only may be insufficient to guard against this.
If the spouse who stays in the home misses a payment or makes a late payment, they may expect this to show up on their credit report. Unfortunately, it may also appear on the other spouse’s credit report if the joint mortgage remains intact.
Refinancing or selling
The challenges associated with a joint mortgage after a divorce may well contribute to why so many couples sell their home when they get divorced. The Mortgage Reports indicates that it may be possible for one person to get a new solo mortgage if they wish to stay in the home. This, however, requires sufficient equity, credit score and income.