In a divorce, the best way to handle the mortgage is to refinance. This is to protect both parties. If you’re making the payments, the loan should be in your name. If your ex is making the payments, then take your name off the loan.
Why is it so important? Because your mortgage company considers a divorce decree to be a personal matter – not a legal matter. A divorce agreement can’t prevent foreclosures or repossessions. It also can’t prevent your ex from ruining your credit if he or she refuses to make payments. The loan document is all that matters.
What if the divorce decree put your ex in charge of mortgage payments, but he or she is refusing to make payments or agree to a refinance. You could always make the payments yourself. That would save the home and your credit. The courts will (eventually) order your ex to reimburse you, just don’t expect it to happen anytime soon.
Sometimes, the biggest income earner is ordered to pay the mortgage even if that person no longer lives in the home. This is more common when children are involved. In that case, both parties may be reluctant to refinance the mortgage, because they feel the original mortgage agreement gives them control over the other person or the home. This is a bad situation for everyone. If the person left in the home can’t afford the payments, and the person out of the home refuses to pay… then you could lose your biggest investment.
If you can’t agree to refinance, then sell the house and move. Regardless of how much you love the home, or the idea of your kids living in it, it is best if both parties move to a more affordable home than to endure the continued heartache of credit problems and payment disputes.