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Potential pitfalls of splitting home in a divorce

Unhappily married individuals in North Carolina and across the nation who own homes with their spouses may wish to know about some issues that can arise from splitting that particular during a divorce. Additionally, a former marital home can cause problems for an individual even after the marriage has ended.

Qualifying for a new mortgage after a divorce can be complicated if a person still bears responsibility for the mortgage of a prior family home. If that person's ex-spouse was awarded that home at the end of the marriage, both of the parties will still be jointly responsible for the mortgage if that ex is not able to refinance it and take sole responsibility. This is because the divorce decree does not actually remove a person's liability for debts.

Generally, removing the person who no longer owns the house from the mortgage requires the other party to refinance the home. This, in turn, requires a good credit rating. If someone's credit is not good enough to refinance a home, the only other option for eliminating his or her ex-spouse's financial obligation to it would be to sell the property. Finding a buyer for a house at an acceptable price is no guarantee.

An attorney may be able to help an individual who is planning for or going through a divorce understand the potential pitfalls. A divorce lawyer may be able to clear up any questions about property distribution, spousal and child support, child custody and visitation plans. Also, attorneys can sometimes allow clients to avoid the scheduling troubles and stress that come with legal mediation by negotiating divorce settlements out of court.

Source:, "How to Divide Your House in a Divorce", Scott Sheldon , July 09, 2014

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