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House buyout process during divorce when refinancing mortgage

| Oct 10, 2019 | Divorce |

Divorces in Virginia do not always involve selling the marital home. Sometimes, the splitting spouses agree that one should buy out the other’s half of the house. The desire to keep children in a familiar environment often motivates this decision. For a home that has a mortgage, the person retaining sole ownership of the house needs to obtain a new mortgage without the ex-spouse’s name on it. The newly single person will need to have sufficient income and credit history to gain approval of new financing.

To initiate the buyout, the two parties must determine the property’s current market value and their equity shares. A professional home appraiser can calculate the home’s value by examining its features and the recent sales of comparable homes. A report from a home inspector also enters into the equation if the property requires significant repairs that influence its value. After establishing the value, the amount owed on the house must be subtracted to calculate equity. The two people will then determine their share by dividing the remaining equity equally. This amount represents what one spouse must pay the other spouse, either in cash or in the exchange of other marital property, to buy the house.

Once one person receives financing for the home, then the ex-spouse’s name should be taken off the title. Having a mortgage under a single name does not affect the title. Typically, an attorney manages the removal of the former spouse’s name with a quit-claim deed.

Legal advice often dovetails with the financial decisions necessary during a divorce. An attorney could explain rights during negotiations for property division. Legal support might help a soon-to-be ex resolve disputes and negotiate a fair settlement. In contentious situations, an attorney might petition a court to defend the client’s rights to certain assets.