One of the biggest struggles for many divorcing couples is determining which party, if any, will get to keep the marital home and how the finances can be arranged to make it happen. When you and your spouse share a mortgage on a home, ending one party’s responsibility is not usually as simple as taking his or her name off of the note. If you are intending to keep the home, transferring the mortgage into your name alone is a process that may take months or even years, and preparation is absolutely vital.
Review the Feasibility
Before jumping in, you need to take an in-depth look at your post-divorce financial situation. If you are like most people going through a marital dissolution, it is important to keep in mind that you will be required to support yourself—with or without some help from spousal maintenance—on a single income. You will want to make sure that you can not only afford the mortgage payments, but all of the expenses associated with owning a home as well, including taxes, utilities, repairs, insurance, and more.
Moving Forward Alone
Once you have determined that keeping the home is, in fact, realistic, and your spouse has agreed to the decision, you will probably need to provide some sort of compensation to your spouse to offset his or her portion of the equity (value less the mortgage balance) of the home. You may choose to draw directly from the equity in the home or offer some other asset or property of value to do so. Either way, you will be required to refinance the property in order to remove your spouse’s name from the note and the mortgage, leaving you as teh sole borrower. Your spouse will probably be strongly supportive of this idea, so that he or she will not be liable for any future mortgage payments or delinquencies.
Depending upon your specific economic circumstances, it may take some time to get the mortgage fully into your name. Cashing out equity, for example, may raise the mortgage to a level that you cannot currently afford, so you may need to increase your income. You will want to begin your efforts as quickly as you can, starting immediately upon the realization that divorce is imminent and that you are intending to keep the home. It is possible to work an agreed-upon timeframe into the terms of your divorce settlement, but both of you will want to keep that period as short as possible for the sake of financial security.
If you have questions about ways to keep your marital home in divorce, contact the experienced Kane County family law attorneys at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C.. We offer a free, no-obligation consultation in which you can discuss your case, ask questions, and get the answers you need to make informed, responsible decisions. Call 630-377-7770 today to schedule an appointment and put our knowledgeable team to work for you.