In a Divorce, How One Spouse Can Keep the House

By Anya Martin

In a divorce, the house is often the biggest asset the couple will divide—and splitting it is a complicated matter.

When one spouse wants to keep the house, the other often wants off the mortgage. Refinancing the loan in one name is the typical solution, but it’s not always easy. If a spouse cannot refinance, often the only alternative is to sell the home.

While the financial challenges are similar for mortgages of any amount, the issues are compounded when a jumbo loan is involved, says John Walsh, CEO of Milford, Conn.-based Total Mortgage. When refinancing a jumbo mortgage—one above government-backed loan limits of $417,000 in most areas and $625,500 in some high-price communities—an individual’s income matters as much or more than his net worth, Mr. Walsh says.

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