Walking away from a joint mortgage

Answered on 18 October 2017 by Nick Morrey

My wife and have decided to separate and divorce. We are are at the final stage before it becomes absolute. I have stayed in the house as it was my wife that wanted a divorce. She currently pays the mortgage which we have in joint names. This is not our only joint commitment as we have another joint mortgage. My wife wants me to take on the mortgage but my lender will not accommodate any change in my rate of interest or payments. We have other commitments that need to be met. I would like to say "hey stop paying and I will sort it" but I worry that I will lose my home with the commitments being to large in their current form. Can she just legally walk away? Without a worry.

All mortgages taken out by joint borrowers are done so with the parties “jointly and severally responsible” for the loan. That means that even if the loan is based on one party’s income, both borrowers are equally liable for the mortgage payment.

The short answer is that your wife cannot just walk away without a worry. If you are unable to make the monthly mortgage payment then an arrears status will be placed on both of your credit files, irrespective of the agreement between yourself and your wife as to who should be paying. As mortgage arrears can be a serious hindrance to obtaining future credit, I would recommend that you speak to your solicitor and arrange for some mediation on this subject, before you get to the point of missing payments.

If you would like to discuss your mortgage options in more detail, please call us on 0344 346 3672 and we'll get one of our consultants to contact you.

Answers provided in response to Ask the experts are based on the information provided and do not constitute advice under the Financial Services & Markets Act. They reflect the personal views of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views, positions, strategies or opinions of John Charcol. All comments are made in good faith, and John Charcol will not accept liability for them.

We recommend you seek professional advice with regard to any of these topics where appropriate.


You are currently offline. Some pages or content may fail to load.