What to Do if a Couple Separates with a Joint Mortgage

Written by sherrie scott
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What to Do if a Couple Separates with a Joint Mortgage
Separated couples are still equally responsible for jointly-held debt obligations. (Businesswoman At Desk image by Monika 3 Steps Ahead from Fotolia.com)

A jointly held mortgage remains the responsibility of both parties regardless of whether the parties are living together. Depending on the couple's needs, they can choose to take legal action to determine what will be done with the mortgage or they can informally decide how the obligation will be paid.

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Legal Separation

When a married couple decides to legally separate, they are still responsible for jointly-held debt obligations. A separation agreement will outline which party will be in charge of paying the mortgage and bills related to the upkeep of the residence. A separation agreement can also stipulate that both parties will maintain equal interest in paying the mortgage.


Refinancing the mortgage is a practical way for the remaining party to remove the other party from the mortgage. A refinance not only changes the terms and rates of the mortgage but can also change the name in which the mortgage is held.

Divide the Equity

If one party wants to remain in the home, that party has the option to buy out the other party. Married couples can receive a court order to have the home's equity divided, but unmarried couples would have to verbally agree to this option.

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