Mortgage Payments and Divorce: Who is Responsible?

If your spouse has agreed to take sole responsibility for mortgage payments and this agreement is reflected in the final divorce decree, you more than likely believe that the matter has been fully resolved and that you are released from any further responsibility for mortgage payments.

Unfortunately, this is not the case.

Both you and your former spouse assumed responsibility for mortgage payments when you signed the loan documents. Consequently, a divorce decree stating that your former spouse will be responsible for mortgage payments has virtually no legal effect.

Fortunately, there are ways to legally transfer responsibility for mortgage payments to your former spouse.

Assumption of the Mortgage

A lender may agree to let your former spouse assume the entire mortgage. (Please note, not all lenders are open to this option due to the risk involved.)

If the lender does agree to let your former spouse assume the mortgage, two documents will have to be executed: a release of liability and an assumption agreement. Your former spouse will also have to provide the lender with certain financial documents that verify that he or she is able to make the mortgage payments on their own.

A copy of both a quitclaim deed and a finalized divorce decree may also be requested by the lender. (For the uninitiated: A quitclaim deed transfers a spouse’s interest in the property to the other spouse).


Refinancing can also eliminate your responsibility for mortgage payments. In most situations, your former spouse must agree to cover your equity share and, more importantly, refinance the mortgage in their name only. It may be beneficial to execute a quitclaim deed at this same time.

Please note, refinancing fees are generally more than those associated with mortgage assumption.

To learn more about divorce and responsibility for mortgage payments, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal advice.

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Related Resources:

  • Mortgage Options While Going Through a Divorce (