If I divorce my spouse do we have to sell our house and split the profit?

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If I divorce my spouse do we have to sell our house and split the profit?

My wife of 25 years left me about a year ago. We bought a house together about 4 years ago and she hasn’t made any contribution to the mortgage since she left. My son is helping me pay the mortgage. She does let want a divorce but doesn’t want to stay together. I’m concerned that the market is going up and she is benefiting without contributing. I was the primary earner for most of our marriage but I am currently unemployed and don’t think I can get a new loan by myself. Is there a way to take her name off the loan without refinancing?

Asked on August 14, 2017 under Family Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you cannot take her name off the home without her consent or without a court order.
If you divorce it's not a given that you will have to sell the house and split the profit: it depends on what is agreed to in the divorce or ordered by the court. This is a likely outcome but not the only one: a court could order, for example,that the house go to one of you, possibly as that one's share (or at least part of that one's share) of the marital or joint assets.
If the house were to be sold, it is likely that you would get a certain amount of credit for having been paying of the mortgage than her (e.g. get somewhat more of the proceeds).
If you're comtemplating divorce, consult with a family or divorce law attorney to understand the process, the timeline, and what will likely happen economically, given the totality of your and her assets, debts, and incomes.


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