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San Diego Family Mediation Center

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The reality of “giving” the house to your spouse

We always have couples come in with the same misconception about the community house. The common belief is all that is required is a simple Quit Claim deed. Well, if both parties are on the mortgage, this is not the case.

The only way for one spouse to walk away from the house without still being responsible for the mortgage is for the remaining spouse to refinance and take the leaving spouses name off the mortgage.

In today’s market, this is extremely hard to do. Therefore, many spouses are remaining on the mortgage together and moving forward as “business partners” with the idea of selling when the market gets better. While this is a viable option, it also means that the leaving spouse is now paying for a new rent or mortgage and still assisting with the mortgage on the family property. How much they are assisting with the mortgage on the family property is something that will be negotiated within mediation. There are several factors that will make the assistance more or less.

The important thing to learn from this is that the leaving spouse cannot unilaterally decide they are no longer responsible for the mortgage. They are still free to Quit Claim the house – but they still owe the debt!