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Dealing with a mortgage after a divorce

On Behalf of | Nov 28, 2023 | Family Law

In a divorce, you may have the right to keep your Virginia home. However, even if you aren’t allowed to stay there, you might still be liable for making payments on the property. This is true if your name is on the home’s mortgage.

Loans after divorce

As a general rule, lenders aren’t bound by the terms of a divorce decree. Therefore, even if your spouse is ordered to make mortgage payments after the end of your marriage becomes official, you could be liable for any delinquencies. The same is typically true of credit card, vehicle or other joint debts that you incurred before terminating the marriage.

How to get your name off of the mortgage

There are a few actions that you can take to rid yourself of liability for future payments. First, you could sell the house and use the proceeds from the sale to pay off the loan. However, completing the transaction can take weeks or months, and you would still be responsible for costs until this happens. Alternatively, you can refinance the loan so that your former partner’s name is the only one your lender sees. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be entitled to a portion of any positive equity in the home. You would receive that equity as part of the refinancing process.

In a divorce, joint property is divided equitably while separate property generally remains with whoever acquired it. Joint debts such as a mortgage may also be divided equitably while sole debts generally remain with the person who incurred that balance either before or during the marriage.