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Should I keep my mortgage after a divorce?

In addition to dividing assets like vehicles and retirement accounts during a divorce, couples must also divide debts like mortgages.

When getting a divorce in Texas, spouses who own a home together often struggle with what to do with their house during the divorce. It is not uncommon for women especially to feel a strong emotional pull to keep a family home, especially if children are involved. However, this may not always be a wise choice. Consideration must be given to the mortgage as well as to the home.

Mortgages are treated separately from homes

A bank does not particularly pay attention to what agreement a couple makes regarding a home. What a mortgage lender cares about is whose name or names are on the loan and whether or not the payments are being made. Given that a mortgage is often a couple's single biggest debt, people should decide how to handle a joint mortgage when divorcing knowing that they will both be responsible for it.

Selling may be the best option

As Bankrate explains, many couples end up deciding to sell their homes in part because it creates a truly clean and fresh start for all parties. There are no future financial ties in the form of a joint mortgage and there are no visual reminders of the person who moved out.

Considering a shared mortgage

If one person really wants to keep the house, the other person should be wary about maintaining the existing joint mortgage. According to Time, spouses may have a quitclaim deed that transfers ownership of a home to one person only but that is not enough to relieve the other person from responsibility on a loan if their name is still on it. The same holds true for a divorce decree.

This means that if the spouse who stays in the home stops making the mortgage payments, the other person may be on the hook for that debt even if they no longer have any interest in the ownership of the property.

Getting a new mortgage

One option that some people may be eligible for is to refinance and get a new mortgage in one spouse's name only. This may or may not be possible depending on that spouse's income level.

Figuring out how to make the choice

There is no one right answer on how to handle a home and a mortgage in a divorce for every couple. This is why Texas spouses should talk to an attorney before making any decision so that they can get input based upon their situation specifically and make the right decisions for them.

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