When you’re in the middle of a divorce case, a lot of things in your life can seem up in the air. The question of where you will live and what will happen to your house is generally one of the biggest concerns people face. If you will be living apart, finding a new place to call home and moving out of your marital home can be stressful during a divorce case. However, if you will be leaving your house, should you keep paying the mortgage? What if your husband stops paying the mortgage on your house during the divorce? The Ventura divorce lawyers at the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth discuss some of the issues around divorcing with a mortgage and what you can do to protect your property rights and payments. For help with your case, contact our law offices for a free legal consultation.
Will I Lose My House During Divorce in California?
If you and your spouse jointly own your house, it will be one of the main assets you work to fairly divide during your California divorce case. Usually, it is impossible for each of you to keep half the house. Instead, many couples will actually sell their house and split the profits. This is the simplest way to divide your property, but it is not an option for every couple.
Instead, one spouse might buy out the other. This could involve paying them for half of the equity in the property and assuming the mortgage by themselves instead of sharing the cost of payments or using joint funds to pay the mortgage. This is often expensive and might not be possible if you own your house outright since you might not have enough money or assets to afford half of the house. In some high asset divorce cases, this may be a simple option.
If a couple cannot sell the house right now, they may hang on to it for a while and sell it later. In the meantime, they may continue to share mortgage payments and other costs associated with the house, or one or both of them may continue to live there. Courts and divorce agreements can arrange these costs so that each party pays their fair share of these costs.
Who Pays for the Mortgage During the Divorce?
If you will be selling your house, you need to continue to make mortgage payments and pay other costs associated with the house. Until you sell it, it is still your house and you are responsible for the payments. If the payments were made from joint bank accounts or funds you shared with your spouse, those funds will likely continue to pay for the mortgage payments. If your spouse handled the finances, they should still continue to make these payments.
In many divorce cases, your finances will be split up and you will start paying for things from your own funds instead of joint funds. If your funds are split at the beginning of your divorce case or during a legal separation, then who pays the mortgage?
Typically, courts will divide your debts and financial burdens along with the assets and funds you have. This means that the court will usually figure out who pays the mortgage – or order both of you to contribute half the payment.
In some cases, your spouse may be ordered to pay the mortgage without your financial assistance. Especially if your spouse is the only one with an income, the money may all go through them, and it is up to them to pay for your support. In a divorce for families like this, you may be able to get spousal support payments while the divorce case is pending. That could mean that your spouse is court-ordered to pay you “alimony,” potentially including the cost of the mortgage.
What if My Spouse Stops Paying the Mortgage While the Divorce is Pending?
If your spouse stops mortgage payments, you could potentially lose the house. If the bank stops getting its mortgage payments on time, you could face eviction and foreclosure. It is important to go to court and work out who will make these mortgage payments so that you have some way of making sure the mortgage gets paid while the divorce is pending.
If the court splits your finances and each of you is ordered to pay half the mortgage, you can go to court if your spouse stops paying. Similarly, if your spouse is ordered to pay the mortgage as part of your alimony case, any failure to pay would violate the court order.
The court has many techniques to help enforce its orders. In some cases, they may be able to draw alimony payments straight from your spouse’s paychecks or bank accounts, which would remove any opportunity for your spouse to miss payments. Moreover, the court may be able to seize assets to cover the cost of the payments, ensuring you have the money to make the payments. The court may also be able to order jail time or fines against your spouse to push them into compliance.
Call Our California Alimony and Spousal Support Lawyers
If you are getting a divorce and need help affording housing or making mortgage payments during the divorce, call the Law Offices of Bamieh and De Smeth today. Our Ventura family law attorneys and Santa Barbara divorce attorneys can help put mortgage payments into your divorce as part of spousal support payments and go to court to enforce these payments if your spouse stops paying the mortgage. For help with your divorce and alimony case, contact our law offices today at (805) 585-5056.