Posted on behalf of Jeffrey N. Greenblatt of Joseph, Greenwald & Laake, PA
People in Maryland may have seen a recent article about the different options divorcing couples have when it comes to splitting up the marital home. This can be a complex and demanding process, but it is extremely important, especially for the spouse who agrees to allow their ex to remain in the home as part of the property division agreement.
When going through a divorce, it is important to understand the law guiding property division. People do not often overlook things like bank accounts and real estate, but, even after the valuation issues are settled, there can be nasty surprises for unaware homeowners. It is particularly important to follow through and make sure that loose ends are tied up when one half of the couple chooses to remain in the house after the divorce, especially when both ex-spouses’ names are still on the mortgage agreement.
When both names are on a mortgage, even after a divorce, the mortgage lender can still come after a spouse who signed the loan agreement, even though they are not currently living there. Even transferring the property to their ex-spouse via a quitclaim deed will not protect a person from liability on the outstanding debt.
There are several ways to have a person’s name removed from a mortgage, but all of them do require some research and legwork. Perhaps the easiest way to avoid continuing liability on the home is to require the spouse who keeps the home in property division to refinance the property solely in their name. However, this option assumes that the spouse can still qualify for the mortgage based on their sole income.
Source: LoanSafe.org, “Mortgage Options While Going Through a Divorce,” Evan Bedard, July 14, 2013.