For many people in California who get divorced, there is a strong desire to keep their homes. Staying in a house may be one way that a parent provides some stability for young children so that the kids do not have to move while adjusting to a parental split. Other people have strong attachments to their neighborhoods and communities. Regardless of the reason, it may be possible to avoid selling a home in a divorce. However, it is important to make this decision with eyes wide open.

As explained by MortgageLoan.com, a mortgage and a house are not one thing, but two things, in the eyes of a lender. Most married couples that own a home have a mortgage in both spouses’ names. This mortgage could be problematic if one spouse leaves the home, even if a divorce decree stipulates the remaining spouse will be responsible for the mortgage payments. A bank may still pursue repayment from both spouses. The lender may also report late or missed mortgage payments to credit bureaus against both spouses. This is because the lender considers the names on the loan to be what matters.

Bankrate notes that some people may consider signing a quit claim deed to assign ownership in a property to one spouse. This, however, does not eliminate financial responsibility if a mortgage remains in both parties’ names.

Obtaining a new mortgage in the name of the spouse who will stay in the home is the only way to avoid the financial connection between former spouses when it comes to liability for a home loan.