Sunday, September 14, 2008

Real Estate Woes and Divorce

The current mortgage crisis has a severe ripple effect, reaching out and impacting most people's lives in some way or another. One of the impacts I am seeing as a divorce mediator is that divorcing couples are struggling more than ever to figure out what to do with the family home. Couples are continuing to live together despite their pending divorce and desire to not be living together and couples are remaining on the mortgage and the title to the house together because there is no way to split it up when a refinance is impossible and a sale would leave the couple owing money to the bank. Creative solutions are needed in these situations but it's not an easy issue for anyone.

Here is an article from the San Diego Union Tribune - "Unable to sell homes, split-up spouses stay put, postpone divorce" - which tells the stories of three different couples facing this difficult situation. The link to the full article is here and I have pasted an excerpt below:

"Getting divorced is one of life's most difficult passages, and the housing market meltdown is making it tougher. With home prices plunging and foreclosures soaring, divorcing couples are finding it harder to rid themselves of jointly owned property –and as a result, each other.

Even when one spouse is willing to buy out the other and remain in the home, tighter credit means banks often refuse to refinance mortgages on properties with little or no equity.

“They used to fight over who was going to keep the house,” ...[] “Now they're fighting to get away from the house.”