Mortgage Blog

Getting you the mortgage you deserve

How to Handle a Mortgage After a Separation or Divorce

February 10, 2021 | Posted by: Justin Emilio

Mortgage Life After Separation and Divorce

Separation and divorce present many challenges. It's a situation you likely never thought you'd never be in, but now there are personal and financial consequences to handle. Most notably, one of the most significant challenges is dealing with a separation and divorce mortgage matter. Who gets the house? Should you sell? Are there other options available to you? Keep reading to find out what options you have, as well as mistakes to avoid in separation and divorce mortgages.

Tips on Separation and Divorce Mortgages

Before you move onto all the possible options for your mortgage, it's crucial to align with your ex-partner on desired outcomes. We suggest you take the time to do the following:

  1. Have a conversation on what each partner ultimately wants. Does one partner want to keep the house more? Do you both want to keep it as an investment property together? Talk through this before moving into conversations on the next steps. This will ensure you know where you both stand.

  2. Determine the home's value through a realtor or an appraiser. Ultimately, your home's value and your equity in it will determine what options you can proceed with.

  3. Consider bringing in legal help. A third-party moderator can help you both make an equitable decision.

Options for Handling the Mortgage

After you have a sense of what both parties want and what your home is worth, you can explore the options available to you. There are a few to choose from:

Sell Your Home

The most obvious option is to sell your home. After a separation or divorce, you're both probably anxious to move out and live your own lives. Selling your home cuts another factor that was tying you to your ex-partner and provides you with the capital to start a new life.

You'll sell the house, pay off the mortgage, and take the remaining money for yourselves.

If you plan to fight for more than a 50/50 split of the equity from the home, bring in a divorce attorney as soon as possible.

If your home is worth less than the mortgage on it, you'll have to do a short-sale. A short sale will mean you both walk away with debt, and your credit scores will be negatively impacted. In a short sale scenario, you may want to discuss if selling the home is the right choice or if you both want to wait for the housing market to improve.


If one person really loves the home and wants to keep it, refinancing is an option. You can refinance the home under one person's name. However, refinancing is expensive as it comes with additional costs (legal, appraisal, and banking fees). Most experts say you can expect refinancing a mortgage to cost between 3-6% of the loan.

This option also only works if one partner can handle the mortgage payments independently.

Refinancing is only an option for a select few. It's quite rare that one person can handle the costs of divorce, refinance fees, and a mortgage all on their own. Only explore this option if you believe you can afford it.

Keep the House

So, if selling and refinancing both don't seem right, it's time to look at keeping the house.

Let One Partner Live In The House

You can choose to let one partner live in the house and pay the mortgage while both names are still on the mortgage. This may be an option if you're waiting for the market to pick back up so you can sell the house for a profit.

Unfortunately, this option comes with some downsides. First of all, there's an element of risk for the partner that moves out. Their name is still on the mortgage, so if their ex stops paying the monthly payments, they will be equally responsible for the debt. Secondly, this option can be unrealistic as many people don't want to live in a home full of memories from a failed relationship.

Investment Property

You can both choose to keep the property and rent it out. If you can collect a monthly rent payment covering the mortgage, you'll continue to build up equity in the home and increase your net worth. However, you should note that with this option:

  • You'll probably have to see your ex-spouse frequently to deal with landlord matters

  • Having this mortgage tied to your name can mean you won't be approved for other loans or mortgages

Any way that you look at it, divorce and separation are messy. Your home is probably the largest investment you've made in your life, so you want to make a responsible decision. Consider all of your options and find the solution that works best for both of you.

Back to Main Blog Page


5 Things NOT to do When Selling Your Home

Bank of Canada Rate Update March 8, 2023

The Bank of Canada Holds Rates Steady Even As the Fed Promises to Push Higher

Selling Your Home in the Winter: How You Can Make the Most of It

What is a HELOC?

When's The Best Time To Review Your Mortgage?

Title insurance and home insurance–protect what matters most

How To Keep Your Credit Score Sparkling?

It’s Too Late for a 5-year Fixed

Grow your wealth in real estate with the BRRRR strategy.

Bank of Canada increases policy interest rate by 25 basis points, continues quantitative tightening

Bank of Canada raises policy rate by 25 bps to 4.5%

Before you lock in your variable rate

Budgeting for the Year Ahead

Alternative Lending


Should You Spend the Full Mortgage Amount You're Approved For?

The Pros and Cons of Fixed vs. Variable Mortgages

Bank of Canada increases policy interest rate by 50 basis points, continues quantitative tightening

The Bank of Canada Hiked Rates The Full 50 bps

Bank of Canada increases policy interest rate by 50 basis points, continues quantitative tightening

Enjoying a Debt-Free Holiday

How Not to be House Poor

Job Loss and Your Mortgage Application

10 Things to Know About the Offer Process

A Six-Step, Back to Basics Financial Plan for Most Every Canadian

Canada's Inflation at 6.9% in October Supports a December Rate Hike

10 Important Questions to Ask Your Contractor

First-Time Homebuyer Tips

Bank of Canada Slows Pace of Rate Hikes

Bank of Canada Rate Update October 26, 2022

Best Ways to Plan for Your Down Payment

Bank of Canada Will Not Be Happy With This Inflation Report

Common Mistakes That House Flippers Make & How to Avoid Them

Credit Clean-Up!

Understanding Mortgage Trigger Points

Canadian Inflation Slows For the Second Consecutive Month

How Mortgage Rates Affect Buying Power?

Bank Of Canada Rate Update September 7, 2022

September 7th BoC Rate Hike

Adapting Your Finances

5 Reno’s With the Best ROI

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

Gasoline Prices Dipped, But No Time To Celebrate

How Many Homes Should You View Before Buying?

Looking to buy your first home in BC? Here are programs that can help you with that goal

Breaking Your Mortgage Without Breaking The Bank - How Mortgage Penalties Are Calculated

5 Things to Consider When Building Your Own Home

Canadian Inflation Surged to 8.1% in June

Bank Of Canada Rate Update July 13, 2022

Tips for Buying Rental Investment Properties

Inflation, Interest Rates & Locking In

New to Canada?

5 Negotiation Secrets Smart Buyers Use to Get Better Deals

Bank Of Canada Rate Update June 1, 2022

Another Jumbo Rate Hike, Signalling More To Come

Dreaming of a Home Away From Home?

Reverse Mortgages and What to Know

How a Mortgage Pre-Approval Can Protect You from Rising Rates

Purchase + Improvements Mortgages

How is a Private Mortgage Different Than a Traditional Bank Mortgage

Have You Had Your Mortgage Check-Up?

Purchase Plus Home Improvements?

Home-Buying 101: A Guide to Purchasing Your First Home

Bank Of Canada Rate Update April 13, 2022

From tax breaks to homebuyer incentives, how the 2022 federal budget affects Canadians’ wallets

5 Benefits of an Investment Property

Preparing for the Spring Market

Refinancing: What You Should Know

Tips for Picking the Right Home to Flip

Bank of Canada Starts Hiking Rates, Signalling More To Come

The Difference Between Bank of Canada Rate and Prime Rate

Bank Of Canada Rate Update March 2, 2022

Can Housing Upgrades Affect Your Insurance?

What to Look for During a Home Tour??

Understanding Insurance

Rent to Own Homes vs. Mortgage: How Do They Work?

Improving Your Financial Direction

Bank Of Canada Rate Update January 26, 2022

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Mortgage Broker in BC

How Much of A Mortgage Can You Afford?

Housing Market Predictions


Prequalification and Pre-Approval—What is the Difference? Home Buying in BC

Bank Of Canada Rate Update December 9, 2021

Selling Your Home in Winter

Mortgages for the Self-Employed

What to do if You Are Denied a Mortgage

How to Know if it's Time to Refinance

7 Steps for Mortgage Prep

Up for Renewal??

Bank Of Canada Rate Update Oct 27, 2021

Five Great Benefits of Owning an Investment Property

What Is Home Equity and How Can I Build It?

Why Invest in a Home Inspection

Low Credit is Spooky! Get Better Credit With The 5 C’s

Fall Home Tips

How to Handle a Low-Ball Offer in Real Estate | Home Selling Advice

5 Approval Roadblocks You Should Know

How to Talk to Your Kids about Finances

Bank Of Canada Rate Update Sept 8, 2021

What are credit scores and how are they important?

Getting a Mortgage as a Student

What Happens if You Lose Your Job Before Closing?

How a Funding Condition Can Secure Purchasers From Financial and Legal Penalties in BC

Bank Of Canada Rate Update July 14, 2021

Risks of Putting Down a Firm Offer with a Pre-Approval BC

Low Rates in BC Helping Buyers Pay Off Their Mortgages at Record Pace

Buying Land To Build A Home in BC

Bank Of Canada Rate Update June 9, 2021

Your House-Closing Timeline: A Step-By-Step Guide | BC

What Are the Next Steps After Your Offer Was Rejected? In BC

Investing In An Apartment Complex

2021 Mortgage Stress Test - Latest Updates

Things To Look Out For When Viewing A Property

April 21-2021 - Bank of Canada will hold current level of policy rate until inflation objective is sustainably achieved, adjusts quantitative easing program

Stress Test 2021

April 2021-Bank of Canada Releases Results from Consultations on Inflation and Monetary Policy

Buying A Home As A Senior Citizen | BC

Top 10 Considerations When Moving to a New Area

Multi-Family Lending: What You Need To Know About Hard Money Loans

Why Borrowers May Choose a Private Mortgage

How to Handle a Mortgage After a Separation or Divorce

How Good vs Bad Debt Impacts Your Household

Benefits of Investing in Multi-Family Real Estate


Top 3 Biggest Home Seller Mistakes

3 Tips on How to Better Your Credit Score

Renting VS Buying a Home

Five Tips for Buying a Condo

Cons of For Sale By Owner (FSBO)

Real Estate 101: Getting Your Home Ready To Show

Tips for Real Estate Investors

Reverse Mortgages – Impact on Heirs

Advice for First-Time Home Sellers

Top 3 Home Improvement Ideas to Increase the Value of Your Home

5 Things NOT To Do When Selling Your House

Home Inspections, How They Can Benefit Home Buyers and Sellers

Useful Tips for Buying and Selling A Home During Covid-19

When Is Mortgage Refinancing a Bad Idea?

Is it a Good Time to Become a First-Time Home Buyer?

5 First-Time Homebuyer Mistakes To Avoid

5 Smart Ways to Use a Home Equity Line of Credit

What should you consider when refinancing your mortgage?

6 Signs a Home Will Likely Increase In Value

6 Persistent Real Estate Myths You Really Need to Ignore

Should You Pay Off Your Mortgage Early?

New Stress Test On Insured Mortgages

Real Estate 101: Essential Tips for First-Time Home Buyers

10 Essential Tips for Taking Out Your First Mortgage

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Should You Spend the Full Mortgage Amount You're Approved For?

Take Advantage of Low Interest Rates – Refinance Your Mortgage Today!


Strategies to Dig Yourself Out of the Debt Hole

Why You Need an Emergency Fund And How to Get One

The Benefits of Investing in Income Producing Properties

4 Hidden Problems That Could Be Hurting Your Home Sale