What Happens to a Home and Mortgage During a Divorce?

Handling homeownership and mortgage obligations during a divorce can be difficult. I’m joined by divorce attorney Candace Demary to help me explain how to make this process go as smoothly as possible.

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It’s an unfortunate fact that 50% of marriages end in divorce. If that happens, what happens to your home and mortgage? To help me explain, I’m joined by Candace Demary, a family law attorney of 15 years.

Once you’ve decided to file for divorce, the first decision should be whether one of the parties wants to keep the house and whether they can afford it. If neither party wants the house or can afford to keep it on their own, you can sell the house and divide the proceeds.

If one person wants to keep it, refinancing is an option. You’ll need to have the house appraised and then negotiate a buyout of the equity of the house from the other spouse. Judges typically don’t order a mortgage to be refinanced, but Candace says she often negotiates it as it’s better to completely change the title over the to spouse keeping the house. It also frees up the other spouse to buy another house down the road.


If one spouse owned the home prior to the marriage, it would be considered their separate property. The other spouse doesn’t have a claim to the house other than possible reimbursement for mortgage payments made during the marriage.

Of course, each situation is complex and merits its own set of questions. If you’d like to ask Candace any questions, you can call her at (713) 682-4210.

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