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California property division process: What about the mortgage?

Owning a home is a goal that many California residents have. In many cases, individuals purchase a home with their spouses soon after or even before marriage. When this occurs, typically both parties have an obligation to ensure that the mortgage loan on their home is paid. If the home is left to one person as part of the property division process in the event of divorce, who is liable for the mortgage?

It is not unusual for people to think that because they have relinquished ownership of the home during divorce, they are no longer liable for the mortgage. However, the mortgage lender could still come after both parties if the loan is in both names and has not been changed to remove one party from the note. This means that even if someone no longer lives in the home, he or she may still have mortgage obligations.

In order to avoid such a situation, individuals may want to ensure that the mortgage is properly addressed during property division proceedings. Parties may find it applicable for the person keeping the home to assume the mortgage and relieve the other party from any obligation. Refinancing and loan modifications may also be viable options in such scenarios.

Because decisions made during the property division process and other areas of divorce can have substantial impacts, California residents may want to ensure that they understand how their choices could affect their futures. By understanding potential loopholes and not making assumptions regarding financial aspects of the case, individuals may face better outcomes. Speaking with knowledgeable attorneys could help concerned parties make sure that they have considered such factors.

Source:, "Dealing with Divorce: How to Handle Your Mortgage When You Split", Aug. 15, 2017

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