Divorce and Foreclosure: What You Need to Know

By Victoria Falk

What do you do when “I do” turns into “I don’t,” and you can no longer stand to be in the presence of the person that you imagined you would spend the rest of your life with? You vowed to be together “…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health….” However, the sight of this person now ‘makes you sick,’ and you wonder if things can get any worse. Divorce becomes inevitable.

Divorce can be devastating, as two people who legally joined their lives together return to living separate lives. Gone are the hopes and dreams of “forever,” and in many cases, there may be a loss of income. As a result of divorce, individuals who enjoyed, in many cases, shared savings and shared living expenses are now faced with the challenge of maintaining a household without the same level benefit of financial assistance from another person that was previously received. It may be a financial challenge for one spouse to purchase the house from the other or maintain the full responsibility of taking care of the homeowner’s expenses on their own.

The relationship between the divorce rate and the foreclosure rate is evident, with the foreclosure rate increasing as the divorce rate increases. According to a study conducted by Citywide Home Loans, divorce is one of the most common foreclosure causes. “Frequently, divorce means that one person is designated as responsible for making mortgage payments. This can put financial stress on the individual making mortgage payments, especially if there are missed spousal support payments. The stress that the divorce process brings ( both emotional and financial), along with impaired communication, can also mean missed mortgage payments,” found Citywide Home Loans.

However, divorce does not have to lead to foreclosure. There are things for the divorcing couple to consider. According to AllLaw, “A couple going through foreclosure at the same time they are going through a divorce should be aware of several issues such as: Who is responsible for the remaining debt on the home? How will the debt be repaid? What will happen to the house?” They may decide that one spouse may ‘become the sole owner’ of the property, or if neither of them wants the house, …they can attempt a short sale or deed in lieu of foreclosure. If one spouse will take over the property and the mortgage, that spouse can then apply on their own for a modification or refinance.”

Most divorcing couples cannot communicate on the level needed to come to a compromise regarding the home and the mortgage on their own due to the deterioration of their marital relationship. As a matter of fact, it is not uncommon for one spouse to want the other “to get out of the house” and/or to accuse the other person of wanting to miss required mortgage payments to spite the other spouse intentionally. Thus, increasing the likelihood of foreclosure.

An experienced divorce attorney and real estate expert, such as Mr. Brian Figeroux, of Figeroux and Associates, can assist those going through a divorce who are also facing foreclosure. Missed mortgage payments and foreclosure can affect your credit history years after the divorce. So, know your rights and responsibilities. If you or someone you know is in the process of divorce and facing foreclosure, then it is a critical time to speak to a lawyer. Visit www.askthelawyer.us to get expert legal advice today.

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