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What if I want to keep the house in my divorce?

On Behalf of | Jan 8, 2016 | Property Division

For most homeowners the Columbus area, the house is the most valuable thing they own. Besides that, the house is often the setting for many warm memories. It may be the first place you and your spouse bought together, and the place where your children have grown up.

So, whether for financial, sentimental or practical reasons, when someone is going through divorce he or she may want to keep the house. If the other spouse agrees, he or she will likely want to get off the mortgage in exchange.

Depending on the circumstances, refinancing into a new mortgage may be easy — or not. Among the complications, as explained by The Wall Street Journal, is whether the lender will believe the former spouse will be able to afford the mortgage payments on his or her own.

Federal law for obtaining a loan requires that the mortgagor have at least a 43 percent debt-to-income ratio. After divorce, the household income is likely to go down significantly, with only one person working outside the home — if that.

Many times, the would-be homeowner’s income is supplemented by child support and alimony from the other ex. This could help the homeowner afford to pay the mortgage. But lenders generally will not count these payments as reliable income until the applicant has received it for at least 12 months. In addition, lenders usually require the applicant to show that the payments will continue for at least three years after the mortgage begins.

So, keeping the home after divorce may be more complicated that it appears at first. But it still may be possible, with the help of your attorney.