The end of a relationship is never easy, and it can be even more daunting when shared property and a joint mortgage are involved. As our Head of Mortgage at Global Finance, Aseem Agarwal, points out, there’s no right or wrong answer for how to break a joint mortgage. In these situations, it’s all about understanding collective responsibility and how it impacts both parties.
Here are the top four factors to consider when going through a separation to ensure your mortgage gets paid on time.
1. Joint liability for the whole loan
With a joint mortgage, both parties are equally liable for the entire loan, which means the bank can hold either or both partners accountable for the total mortgage amount, regardless of their contributions to the property’s purchase or ongoing payments.
“In the eyes of the bank, both partners are equally responsible for making sure the mortgage is paid on time and in full,” explains Aseem.
2. Retaining ownership of the property
The partner who wants to retain ownership will typically need to buy out the other partner’s share. This means compensating the departing partner for their portion of the property’s equity based on its current market value. By doing so, the remaining partner becomes the sole owner of the property and assumes full responsibility for the entire mortgage.
On the other hand, if the couple decides to sell the property during the separation, the proceeds from the sale will be divided between the partners based on their ownership shares. Any outstanding mortgage balance is paid off using the proceeds before dividing any remaining cash.
Aseem says that if one partner agrees to take over the mortgage, they must ensure they can manage the payments responsibly. “Otherwise, it can have severe financial consequences for both parties and damage their credit standing.”
3. The risk of defaulting
When a couple takes out a joint mortgage, each party is equally responsible for repaying the loan on time. The bank isn’t worried about the reasons behind the separation or who’s responsible for the mortgage. Its main concern is receiving the agreed-upon payments regularly and without delays. If either party fails to make repayments or defaults on the loan entirely, it could take remedial and legal actions to recover its funds.
“If either party is found in breach, the bank has the right to sell the property and get the loan paid off,” says Aseem.
4. Impact on credit scores
Credit scores greatly influence your financial stability and future borrowing opportunities, particularly access to lower interest rates. If either partner fails to make repayments or defaults on the mortgage, it will negatively affect both parties’ credit ratings. That’s why they must honour their commitments, says Aseem.
“Separating couples need to remember that a default from either party would adversely affect the credit scores of both parties.”
Aseem also notes that when one partner has little or no involvement in defaulting, it can be particularly frustrating and unjust.
“Unfortunately, people have to deal with the consequences of the other partner’s actions, even if they diligently paid their mortgage during and after the relationship.”
Separating means working together
While the situation may feel overwhelming, seeking professional advice from family lawyers and financial advisors is the best way to make informed decisions. By approaching the matter with empathy and responsibility, both parties can find a resolution that aligns with their needs and protects their financial well-being. The key is to work together and find the best possible solution for everyone involved.
Need help to divide your mortgage? Get in touch with Global Finance today.
The information and articles published are true to the best of the Global Finance Services Ltd knowledge. Since the information provided in this blog is of general nature and is not intended to be personalized financial advice. We encourage you to seek Financial advice which is personalized depending on your needs, goals, and circumstances before making any financial decision. No person or persons who rely directly or indirectly upon information contained in this article may hold Global Financial Services Ltd or its employees liable.