Responsibility for the Marital Home Mortgage

By Jennifer Paine

Attorney, Cordell & Cordell

financial advice divorceSimply awarding the marital home to your wife in your divorce decree does not release you from your liability to the mortgage company.

You and your wife can make any agreement you want.

However, the mortgage company doesn’t care what your agreement is.

If she misses a payment, the company will pursue you for it.

That means calls, collections letters and, possibly, a lawsuit. Most guys, while fearful that this will happen, do nothing in their decree to protect themselves if it does.

What are you to do if you have to make the payment for her?

Get creative! So long as the decree is not against public policy, the judge will sign it. For example, include a clause that if she misses a payment then you can withhold her alimony payments.

Or maybe you get to assume possession of the home and you will make the payments. Or you can demand that the home be sold, then the profits will be divided or given to you after you have been repaid for assuming her payments.

Better yet, require her to refinance the mortgage and provide you with proof of her attempts on a regular basis until she does so.

The worse thing to do – and yet what many guys already do – is require her to “refinance” the home but with no proof. This means nothing if you don’t have the enforcement language to back it up.

To schedule an appointment with a men’s divorce lawyer, please contact Cordell & Cordell.

Read related article: “The Top 9 Major Money Mistakes Men Make In Divorce


Jennifer M. Paine is an Associate Attorney in the Detroit, Michigan office of Cordell & Cordell. She is licensed to practice in Michigan, and has been admitted pro hac vice in Illinois, Ohio, and the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Ms. Paine received her BA in English and Mathematics from Albion College and graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received her Juris Doctorate from MSU College of Law and graduated Summa Cum Laude.

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