When The Marriage Ends, The Mortgage Does Not

If a marriage fails, the divorcing partners need to consider what to do about their mortgage.

Not all marriages last as long as the couple may have hoped for and when they make the decision to divorce, the mortgage on their house remains a silent partner in the proceedings. In effect, one is not just divorcing a spouse — one must also divorce the mortgage.

The housing market today is slow and with even tighter lending requirements, divorcing couples face an uphill battle to get divorced. Before the housing bubble burst, it was relatively simple to divorce, sell the marital home, split the proceeds (equity) and each buy another home. With the market the way it is now, this rarely happens. The home, once an asset, has turned into a liability — one that is increasingly difficult to discharge.

From the point of view of the bank financing the mortgage for a home, a couple will stay married and keep paying the monthly debt unless the home is sold or refinanced. However, when things happens and a couple can no longer stay together, they need to consider other options, and check them out with a great deal of care.  This means attempting to put aside all the emotions involved in a divorce in order to make logical and informed decisions, often with the assistance of an experienced Brandon divorce lawyer.

The main goal is to keep an eye on the long-term results, and move past the short-term pain of the divorce and losing the house. If a couple cannot move past the immediate issues and focus on the future, things are likely to be bleaker for them as they try to deal with financial issues. The main focus needs to be selling the house, as it still remains the easiest way to put a joint debt, like a mortgage, behind you.

Although selling the home may be the best solution, it is not always what happens, because the market is so unpredictable. At this point, the couple needs to look at their situation from a different point of view, by considering other ideas. For instance, could one of them refinance the home? Does one spouse have sufficient credit and income to remain in the home and continue with the payments? Is there another arrangement a spouse could make with a roommate to share the mortgage payment?

Nothing should be off the table when it comes to determining a way to settle the mortgage issue. Just because the house might not sell right now does not mean it will not sell later, when the economy begins to recover to a point where the housing market starts to pick up once again. Considering all options will make the divorce process easier to navigate. Getting stuck on what to do with the house should not be regarded as a stumbling block, but rather a chance to be creative in solving the problem. If you’re hung up on how to deal with the mortgage, ask your Brandon divorce lawyer for advice.

Joshua Law is a Tampa divorce lawyer and Brandon family law attorney with the Osenton Law Offices, P.A. To learn more, visit http://www.brandonlawoffice.com/

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