Two Common Mistakes Made with Divorce and Mortgages

One of the biggest decisions divorcing homeowners face is what to do with the marital home and real property. Trying to agree on how to handle the mortgage and the home can be a challenge without proper direction from a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP™).


The options available depend on a number of factors, such as how the property was financed and how ownership is currently held. Additional factors to take into consideration include the disposition of property, the amount of equity available in the property, and the income sources available for the borrowing spouse.


There are many common mistakes made during divorce when working with a mortgage professional who does not fully understand the implications of divorce and the opportunities to help the divorcing homeowners with their mortgage financing. Two of the more common mistakes made are as follows:


Mistake #1 - "If the couple has equity in the home, the spouse keeping the house should apply for a cash-out refinance to pay their ex-spouse their share. It may mean doing a cash-out refinance first to get part of the money to the exiting spouse, then following that up with a home equity loan to get the remaining money due to the exiting spouse."


Mortgage Underwriting Guidelines allow for a better solution. When a CDLP™ works with the divorce team and the divorcing couple, specific verbiage can be used in the marital settlement agreement which will classify the refinance as an Equity Buy-Out Rate and Term refinance. The benefit is access to more equity in the home which is usually capped at 80% loan to value with cash-out refinances. Better financing terms are usually available in this situation as well. There may be title seasoning requirements for the borrowing spouse; however, the CDLP™ can identify this concern when vetting the marital home.


Mistake #2 - "Leaving the vacating spouse's name on the existing mortgage will affect the ability of the non-resident spouse to qualify for future mortgage financing because the existing mortgage payment will be included in the spouse's debt-to-income ratio if they remain on the current mortgage."


Again, working with a CDLP™ may change the game here as well. When the marital settlement agreement assigns the responsibility of paying an existing debt, the debt is classified as a Court-Ordered Assignment of Debt. For mortgage financing requirements, this may allow for the debt to be omitted from the borrower's debt-to-income ratio helping them to qualify for a new mortgage in their name only while remaining on the existing mortgage to the marital home.


Before making any decisions regarding the marital home and mortgage financing opportunities, you are encouraged to build the right team. A strong professional divorce team will include players such as the divorce attorney, financial planner, and a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP™).


Do you have questions about how divorce can impact the ability to obtain mortgage financing? A Certified Divorce Lending Professional's (CDLP) knowledge and experience can help make the transition much smoother and successful for all parties involved.


Working with an experienced mortgage professional who is well versed in the many ways the divorce affects the mortgage is a huge benefit to both the divorce team as well as the divorcing homeowners. You can't think traditionally when working with divorce and mortgage financing.


Always work with a Certified Divorce Lending Professional (CDLP) when going through a divorce and real estate or mortgage financing is present.


This is for informational purposes only and not to provide legal or tax advice. You should contact an attorney or tax professional to obtain legal and tax advice. Interest rates and fees are estimates provided for informational purposes only and are subject to market changes. This is not a commitment to lend. Rates change daily – call for current quotations.


I update this page weekly ~ Please register on my page to receive updates and more educational information!


Click Here for Previous Articles


Copyright Divorce Lending Association. No portion of this post may be reproduced without the written consent of the Divorce Lending Association.