How to Deal with a Joint Mortgage in Divorce

By January 5, 2018
joint mortgage in divorce

How to deal with a Joint Mortgage in Divorce

Many divorcing couples have a joint mortgage so it’s no surprise that it causes stress to many.

It’s important to note that selling your family home is not your only option, there are other options available depending on your situation.

If you do have a joint mortgage and your divorce is imminent then you need to contact your lender as soon as possible. Most lenders are well equipped in dealing with this change in circumstances. They are often very sympathetic and may be willing to offer a payment holiday or some other form of help to ease the situation.

If a payment holiday is offered ensure you use this wisely as this is not a permanent solution so make sure you use this time to plan what you’re going to do after.

Joint Responsibility

It may be very difficult to keep up your mortgage repayments especially if one spouse moves out, as they will more than likely have to fund a new home for themselves.

Similarly, the spouse left in the family home may not have the funds available to pay back the repayments due them not having a job or relying on certain benefits.

However, a joint mortgage means you have a joint responsibility to pay the mortgage. You are both equally liable for the debt for the whole duration of the mortgage-even if they no longer live there.

It’s important to remember that failure to pay the mortgage when its due will affect both spouses credit histories.

Your Options

As mentioned previously you have a few options in terms of dealing with your joint mortgage.

They are as follows:

• The first option is to sell up and move out- this is normally done by the proceeds of the sale paying off the mortgage
• The second option involves transferring the property over to one spouse- the person who the property is being transferred over to will need to prove they are able to afford the repayments.
• The third option is to continue paying off the mortgage as you have been

Negative Equity

If you are looking at selling your home but are in negative equality then the best thing you can do is talk to your lender and discuss what options are available.

The best option may be to continue to pay off the mortgage jointly until the housing market rises, you will then be able to sell at a reasonable price. If that’s not an option for you and your spouse then selling up and taking on the remaining debt jointly may be best.

Negative equality can become very complex and time-consuming so seeking expert advice can be vital. Some small charities can be very helpful in your time of need as legal advice can be great but costly.

Clean Break

If you and your ex are in an amicable situation and can come to an agreement in regards to what happens to your property then a clean break order can be crucial.

A consent order allows you to transfer the property and mortgage to one party. This only happens of course if this is part of your agreement.

Your lender needs to be aware of this change, as they are the ones who will make the change.

The court cannot force a lender to make this change if they do not agree with it so its important to consult them on the matter.

Conclusion

It’s so important to contact your lender when a divorce is imminent.

Not only can they help and offer guidance but also they need to be legally aware of the situation.

If a clean break is something that you would like to look into then check out our blog post for more information or contact us today.

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