One of the biggest struggles for many divorcing couples is determining which party, if either, 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 what your post-divorce financial situation will look like. If you are like most people going through a divorce, 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 cannot only afford the mortgage payments but also 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 value 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 most likely need to take out a new mortgage on the home, listing you as the sole borrower. Your spouse will probably be strongly supportive of this idea so that he or she cannot be held liable for any possible future defaults.
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 as soon as you realize 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 DuPage County family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group. 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 630-871-1002 today to schedule an appointment and put our knowledgeable team to work for you.