Q: Keeping the marital home as a joint asset after divorce.
My wife and I separated two years ago and agreed she would buy me out of the house. The mortgage is still upside down, so she cannot refinance into her name. We already have an MOU to file uncontested which includes the original buy out clause, but what legalities do we have to consider by filing and maintaining the joint asset? Do we have to change the MOU to read as per our current situation before we can file it?
A: Thank you for your question. I understand you would like to learn more about how to proceed with your uncontested divorce proceeding. First, the MOU should reflect whatever it is you intend to do. If the language is that there will be a buyout, but there is no intention to do a buyout, the MOU should be changed. Second, if the plan is to keep the house in joint names, you are essentially agreeing to remain a business partner with your soon to be ex-spouse. Any non-payment of the mortgage would continue to hurt your credit if you stay on the mortgage, and any future liens of judgments against your ex-wife could hurt your equity in the property. It is a somewhat uncommon arrangement for ex-spouses to continue owning any investment together but it can work in certain scenarios. I recommend you make an appointment with a family law attorney to further discuss this issue. I hope this was helpful to you.
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