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Divorces and Mortgages


Divorces can cause feelings of overwhelm, especially when attempting to determine the division of financial assets between both spouses. The largest asset that most couples usually have is their marital home. Decisions will need to be made regarding how the equity of this home will be divided. Oftentimes, this can be a struggle, as the home may have to be sold and the equity divided after the sale, or one spouse needs to “buy-out” the other spouse regarding the equity in the home. During the time that these decisions are being made, the mortgage on the marital home must still be paid in a timely manner. During the divorce, both spouses must make a determination regarding who is responsible for the mortgage payments both during a divorce and after the divorce.

Mortgage During Divorce

Both spouses will be financially responsible for the mortgage payments if the house was financed and titled in both of their names. During this period of time, even if one spouse makes the decision to move out of the marital home, both parties  remain responsible for these mortgage payments. Negotiating with your spouse to determine how the mortgage will be paid can greatly reduce the chances that foreclosure will begin on your marital home. If one party is making the payments in full, then they may be given a credit at the end of the divorce process for the payments they made as both parties were responsible for the mortgage.

Mortgage Options After Divorce

Typically, a divorce decree will make the determination of how marital property and equity will be divided. Some of the common ways this is handled in a divorce are listed below.

  1. Refinancing

After a court makes a determination regarding the value of both the assets and debts, the court must then determine how to handle the marital home. Oftentimes this is done by refinancing a jointly held mortgage between both spouses into a mortgage held in just the name of one spouse. If you are considering this option, always remember to remove the other spouse’s name from the title, otherwise, they will retain ownership rights in the property without having any responsibility for the mortgage. After the home is refinanced, the equity will be divided according to the analysis done by the court regarding the amount each spouse is entitled.

2. Selling the Marital Home 

In some cases, the mortgage payments on a marital home are quite substantial, and neither spouse can afford to make the payments independently on their salary or they do not qualify to refinance on his/her own. In these cases, the home will be sold, thus eliminating the mortgage, and any remaining equity will be divided between each spouse.

Let Us Help You Today

Making decisions on how to handle your mortgage and marital property during a divorce can be legally complex and challenging. Not only is the division of property difficult, but other factors such as tax implications are also often present and need to be considered. If you are in the process of a divorce or are considering a divorce, you may be concerned about how to handle the mortgage payments if your spouse moved out of the home, or how to divide your marital property. Contact the experienced Prince Frederick divorce attorneys serving southern Maryland at the offices at Meng Law at 410-449-1647 or online today to help you understand your legal rights and the marital property to which you are entitled.


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