Guide To Assuming A Mortgage In A Divorce

Assuming A Mortgage In A Divorce

Divorce can be a challenging time, especially when it comes to dividing assets like the marital home. One solution that may arise during the divorce process is a mortgage loan assumption. This guide will explore what a mortgage assumption involves, particularly in the context of a divorce, and how it can impact both parties involved.

Mortgage Loan Assumptions in a Nutshell

A mortgage loan assumption is a process where one spouse takes over the existing mortgage on the family home from the other spouse. This option can benefit divorcing couples who want to keep the home without refinancing the existing loan.

Understanding the Basics

The borrower who assumes the mortgage takes over the existing mortgage’s loan terms, including the interest rate, monthly payment, and remaining loan amount. 

For the departing spouse, a mortgage assumption means being released from liability for the mortgage loan. The credit history and credit score of the spouse assuming the loan plays a crucial role in the assumption process. 

Role in Divorce Settlements

  • Divorce Decree: The divorce settlement or decree often dictates whether the marital home should be sold or if one spouse should assume the mortgage.
  • Equity Considerations: Home equity plays a significant role in the decision-making process. A buyout of the other spouse’s equity might be required.

Types of Mortgages Eligible for Assumption

Some loans, like certain FHA, VA, and USDA loans, are assumable, meaning the new borrower can take over the current loan under the same terms. However, most conventional loans do not offer assumption options and may require a refinance to change the borrower’s name.

Mortgage loan assumptions can be viable for divorcing couples, but they require careful consideration of legal, financial, and credit implications. 

Divorce Mortgage Assumption Legalities

Navigating the legal complexities of a mortgage assumption during a divorce can be intricate. Understanding the legal framework and implications is crucial for homeowners going through this transition. It’s important for both parties involved to be aware of their rights and responsibilities.

Understanding Legal Obligations

The divorce decree and settlement agreement should clearly outline the divorce terms, including who retains the family home and assumes the mortgage. These documents legally bind both parties to the agreed terms.

In a mortgage assumption, the ex-spouse who is relinquishing ownership of the property should ensure that they are also released from liability for the mortgage debt. This is crucial to protect their credit history and future financial obligations.

Both parties should consult with their respective divorce attorneys to understand the legal implications fully. A family law attorney can provide essential guidance on how the mortgage assumption fits into the broader divorce settlement.

Role of Lenders in Mortgage Assumptions

Most mortgage assumptions require the lender’s approval. The assuming borrower must meet the lender’s criteria, similar to qualifying for a new mortgage.

Lenders may have different policies on loan assumptions and refinancing. Some might prefer that the remaining spouse refinance the home into a new loan, particularly in the case of conventional loans.

Legal Documentation

  • Quitclaim Deed: A quitclaim deed might transfer property ownership rights to the assuming spouse. This deed, however, only relieves the transferring spouse of their mortgage obligations if the lender releases them.
  • Assumption Agreement: Lenders often require An assumption agreement detailing the transfer of obligation from one party to another.

Mortgage Loan Assumption Criteria

When considering a mortgage loan assumption in the context of a divorce, it’s important to understand the criteria set by lenders. These criteria determine whether the assuming borrower can take over the existing mortgage.

Key Criteria for Assuming a Mortgage

  1. Creditworthiness: The assuming spouse must have a good credit score and a solid credit history. Lenders will assess this to ensure the borrower can make future mortgage payments reliably.
  2. Debt-to-Income Ratio: Lenders will evaluate the assuming spouse’s debt-to-income ratio. This ratio measures the portion of income that goes towards debt payments and must meet the lender’s threshold.
  3. Stable Income: Demonstrating a stable and sufficient income is crucial to assure the lender of the borrower’s ability to maintain the mortgage loan.
  4. Type of Mortgage: Not all mortgages are assumable. Loans like FHA, VA, and USDA are typically assumable, while conventional loans are not. 

Consideration of the Existing Loan Terms

The assuming spouse should review the existing loan’s interest rate and terms. In some cases, the current terms may be more favorable than refinancing a new mortgage.

Advice on Mortgage Loan Assumptions

Navigating a mortgage loan assumption can be complex, especially during a divorce. Here are some tips to help guide you through this process:

Seek Professional Advice

Consult with real estate experts, mortgage lenders, and divorce attorneys to understand all aspects of the mortgage assumption. They can provide valuable insights and advice on the feasibility and implications of assuming the mortgage.

Evaluate Financial Readiness

Ensure that taking on the mortgage won’t strain your finances, especially considering the home equity, existing mortgage, and any settlement agreement terms. Consider future costs like property maintenance, taxes, and homeowners insurance.

Understand the Long-Term Impact

Think about how assuming the mortgage will affect your long-term financial goals and credit obligations. This includes the ability to obtain future loans or refinance.

Be aware of the full responsibility for the home loan and ensure you are prepared for this commitment.

Review Legal and Contractual Obligations

Understand the legalities of a mortgage assumption, particularly how it relates to your divorce decree.

Be clear about the process for the release of liability for the departing spouse to protect their financial future.

Communicate with the Lender

Engage with the mortgage lender early to understand their requirements for assumption and the necessary paperwork.

Meeting the criteria for a mortgage loan assumption and navigating the process requires careful consideration and planning. Professional advice and a clear understanding of your financial situation are key to a successful mortgage transfer. 

Mortgage Loan Assumption Process

Mortgage Loan Assumption Process

Assuming a mortgage loan, especially in the context of a divorce, involves several steps. The assuming borrower needs to understand each stage to ensure a smooth transition of the mortgage responsibilities.

Steps in the Mortgage Loan Assumption Process

1. Review the Original Mortgage Agreement: The first step is to review the existing mortgage documents to confirm if the loan is assumable and understand the terms of the assumption.

2. Contact the Mortgage Lender: Contact the lender to express interest in assuming the mortgage. They will provide the specific requirements and documents needed for the assumption process.

3. Credit Evaluation: The lender will assess the assuming borrower’s credit history and credit score. This evaluation is crucial to determine eligibility for assuming the loan.

4. Application for Assumption: The assuming borrower must complete an assumption application, which involves providing financial information and documentation to the lender.

5. Approval by the Lender: Once the application is submitted, the lender will review it. If the assuming borrower meets all criteria, the lender will approve the mortgage assumption.

6. Legal and Financial Adjustments: After approval, legal documents, such as a quitclaim deed, may be required to transfer property ownership. Additionally, the divorce settlement or divorce decree should reflect this change.

7. Finalizing the Assumption: Once everything is approved and legal documents are in place, the mortgage is transferred to the assuming borrower. The original borrower is then released from liability.

Communication and Legal Advice

Throughout the process, maintain open communication with the lender, legal advisors, and real estate professionals. Legal advice is essential to ensure the divorce settlement aligns with the mortgage assumption and understand the implications for both parties.

Alternatives to Mortgage Loan Assumption

In some situations, assuming a mortgage may not be feasible or the best option. Here are alternative solutions:

Refinancing the Mortgage

Refinancing involves taking out a new mortgage to pay off the existing one. This option can be advantageous if the assuming spouse qualifies for a lower interest rate or better loan terms.

Selling the Home

If neither spouse can assume the mortgage, selling the marital home might be the best solution. The benefits of a cash offer include forgetting about tiresome progress and the ability to divide the sale proceeds immediately according to the divorce settlement.


One spouse can buy out the other’s share of the home equity. This often involves refinancing the home into a single name and using the loan proceeds to pay the departing spouse. If this sounds appealing, prepare your house for sale following the steps outlined by professionals like Mill City Home Buyers.

Renting Out the Property

If selling the home or refinancing is not desirable, the couple may rent the property and share the rental income and responsibilities.


Navigating the complexities of a mortgage loan assumption during a divorce can be challenging. Whether you assume the current mortgage, refinance or opt for other alternatives, it’s important to consider the financial implications, closing costs, and the legal aspects tied to your former spouse and the divorce settlement.

If you find yourself in a situation where keeping the family home is not feasible and want to sell, Mill City Home Buyers is here to assist.  For those in St. Paul looking for a hassle-free way to sell, remember that we can help you sell your house in St. Paul efficiently and fairly. 

We understand that dealing with an assumable mortgage or any other mortgage issues during a divorce can be stressful, and our goal is to provide a smooth, straightforward selling experience.

As Minneapolis home buyers, we are committed to offering fair and fast solutions to homeowners looking to sell their properties quickly without the burden of traditional selling processes. 

Don’t let the stress of a mortgage loan assumption or the challenges of a divorce process overwhelm you. Contact Mill City Home Buyers today. 


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