As roughly half of all marriages in California end in divorce, it’s important that couples think about what they’ll do if their relationships don’t work out. This is especially important in regard to jointly owned real estate.

Many couples purchase homes and take out mortgages that give them cash they can put toward repairs and other things that they need. When they decide to divorce, they have a few choices as to what to do about that mortgage. The spouse who wants to keep the house can pay half of the home’s equity to the other spouse. Couples can also opt for the assumption process.

With the assumption process, one of the spouses must agree to take over the mortgage and the payments on the home. The other partner can walk away free and clear without their name attached to the loan. Instead of asking the bank to refinance the home, the couple can ask that the bank remove one individual’s name from the loan and leave it solely in the name of the other. This is a more affordable and easier option for many couples. However, an assumption isn’t allowed for every mortgage.

California divorce proceedings can be quite complex. Spouses who do not have a prenuptial agreement will need to find a way to split the marital property 50/50. In most cases, each partner will retain everything they brought into the marriage. A divorce attorney could help a client understand the details of the property division process and fight for a fair settlement. In some cases, this will mean negotiating with the other spouse to keep the family home.