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How is a mortgage treated when getting a divorce?

There are some things in divorce that can be settled quickly and without incident; other things, though, can be difficult to negotiate. It has been said before that the marital home or other co-owned properties are some of the greatest assets shared between a married couple. This is true for those living in Massachusetts or elsewhere. How, though, would this type of property be treated if a mortgage is still being paid?

There are actually quite a few solutions available to deal with shared marital real estate. The first that many consider is selling the property and dividing the equity — if any. This can grant spouses a clean break and the ability to quickly move forward. There are situations, however, where one spouse may wish to remain in the home. What happens then if that is the case?

The spouse who wishes to remain in the home may be able to refinance to loan under his or her name only. This will remove the other spouse from mortgage, freeing him or her from financial liability in the event of load default. It is possible for a spouse to relinquish rights to the home, but this does not remove him or her from financial responsibility for the property. If a couple owes more than the property is worth, there are options to help deal with that situation as well, including foreclosure, short sale or deferring the sale to a later time.

Deciding what to do with shared real estate, particularly when a mortgage is involved, can be stressful. Couples in Massachusetts will have to decide what works best for their specific circumstances. If they cannot reach agreements, the decision may be left up to the courts to decide. Legal guidance is available to help determine the best course of action to pursue in this type of situation.

Source:, “Legal Questions on Mortgages Involving Divorce“, Daria Kelly Uhlig, Accessed on July 12, 2015


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