If you are like many people in California who are facing the end of your marriage, you may feel a strong urge to keep your family home. This can be very understandable, especially if you have children who still live at home. The desire to maintain stability for the kids and remain in a place where you have strong attachments is real but these are not always the facts upon which you should make this type of decision.
As explained by Time Money, there can be some serious financial consequences to keeping a home when you get divorced depending on the ageement you work out with your former spouse. For the spouse who chooses to leave the home, there can be unique challenges as well.
First and foremost you must realize that banks consider homes and mortgages separate things. Therefore even if your divorce decree stipulates that you will keep the home, if you also keep your current joint mortgage, both you and your spouse are legally obligated for the debt associated with the home. This is the case even if you have a quit claim deed that turns over ownership of the property to you. Refinancing to obtain a mortgage in your name only can be a wise move.
This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to inform divorcing or separating residents in California about some of the things they should evaluate carefully when ending their marriage and wanting to keep a family home.