EP 29: What Happens To The Mortgage During Divorce?

Welcome to the twenty-ninth episode of the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. Shawn Leamon, MBA and a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, discusses what happens to a mortgage during divorce.

A house is generally one of the largest financial assets that you have, so it is important to know your options before you decide what to do with it. You could sell the house and pay off the mortgage, or one spouse or both spouses can keep the house. A quitclaim deed is also a possibility.

Selling your house is the simplest option. You would sell the house, pay off the mortgage, and split the proceeds. Selling the house while you are still married could save you an extra $250,000 in potential capital gains tax liability.

Option number two is when one spouse keeps the house. It is one of the most common options, and if you are the one who will be keeping the house, you need to consider some very important points. Can you afford the house? Can you afford maintenance costs and mortgage payments? The sole owner of the house will need to refinance the mortgage. You will have to remove the name of your ex-spouse from the mortgage if you get to keep the house and have it refinanced, which has many advantages. Just make sure you know what to expect.

The third option is that both spouses can keep the house and rent it out. You can also consider a short sale. Theoretically, both of you could also continue living in the house.

Another consideration is a quitclaim deed, which is a way to transfer your interest in a home to another person. You need to know, however, what will happen to the mortgage before signing off on this option.

Key Learning Points:

  • A house is generally one of the largest financial assets.
  • Know your options before you make a decision, which is either sell the house and pay off the mortgage or one or both spouses can keep the house.
  • Selling your house is the simplest option.
  • If you keep the house, make sure you know all the implications and get the mortgage refinanced.
  • If both spouses agree to keep the house, they can rent it out, have a short sale, or continue living in it.
  • If you sign a quitclaim deed, you should check the implications beforehand.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Podcast. We hope the show helps you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. Shawn Leamon is also author of Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide. One-on-one divorce coaching services are available at www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

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Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.