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Does a divorce agreement guarantee mortgage payments?

You and your spouse took out a mortgage together. When you got divorced, your ex decided to keep the home. You got other assets equaling the value of the money you would have gained through a sale.

However, your ex could afford to refinance the home on just one income. Instead of doing so and getting your name off of the loan, you just put in the divorce agreement that your ex is responsible for paying the mortgage until the home is sold or the payments naturally end.

This may work. But it's important to remember that nothing guarantees payment.

What if your ex loses that job a few years down the line? He or she starts missing payments. You have moved on and you don't hear anything about these financial troubles. Maybe you have a new spouse, a new home and a new life.

You're going to find out about it. As long as your name is on the loan, no matter what your divorce agreement says, the lender may still hold you responsible for payments. If your ex stops making them, they'll try to get in touch with you. You can try to explain to the lender that you split up and your ex said he or she would pay, but the lender is less concerned with your marriage and more concerned with getting payment from one of the two people still on the loan.

This shows why it's so important to know all of your rights and to really understand the potential ramifications of the decisions you make during the divorce process.

Source: Mortgage Loan, "What happens to the mortgage after divorce?," Dan Rafter, accessed March 22, 2018

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