When couples in North Carolina divorce, every aspect of their shared finances is open to negotiation and division. In many cases, a shared home is one of the most valuable assets the couple owns. If the home is not yet paid off and there is still a mortgage, the spouses will have to decide how they want to manage that responsibility.
In many cases, divorcing couples decide to sell the family home and then agree to a fair division of the proceeds. However, it is not unusual for at least one spouse to want to remain in the home. If there are young children living in the home, parents may feel that a move is not in the children’s best interest. In other cases, a spouse may simply not wish to move from the home in which he or she has lived for many years.
In such cases, the couple has a few options for dealing with the mortgage. One option is for the spouse who keeps the home to refinance the mortgage in his or her name. In some cases, however, it may be possible for that spouse to assume responsibility for the entire mortgage under its current terms.
Assuming a mortgage may not be easy, or even possible, however. Homeowners should check their promissory note to see if mortgage assumption is allowable under its terms. If not, refinancing may be the only option. Even if the promissory note allows the spouse to assume the mortgage, he or she will need to qualify for an assumption, which includes an evaluation of one’s income, assets and credit rating.
Homeowners who are considering divorce might benefit from speaking with a family law attorney. The attorney could review the client’s circumstances and make recommendations regarding the division of assets, including what happens to the family home.