There are three main ways to deal with jointly owned real estate.

Often, the parties agree to place the marital residence for sale on the local real estate market by hiring a realtor.  When the property is sold, any mortgages are paid off and after payment of attorney fees and real estate commissions, the remaining proceeds are divided, usually equally, between the parties.

Often, one spouse will buy out the other’s equity which is one-half of the difference between the market value of the property and the principal balance of any mortgage(s).  Usually, the spouse keeping the property refinances the existing mortgage, not only to borrow funds to buy out the equity of the departing spouse, but also to remove the departing spouse from liability on the note signed when the parties purchased the house.  

This release of liability does not occur when the departing spouse transfers his or her interest in the property to the other by way of deed of assumption.  The spouse keeping the property agrees to continue making the monthly mortgage payment, holding the departing spouse “harmless” on the original note and mortgage.  If you can supply us with a copy of the recorded deed to the property, along with the first two (2) pages of any deed of trust encumbering the property, we will draft and record the “divorce deed” for $150.  If you’re refinancing, contact Jaimie, our real estate paralegal, at, to see if we can help you.

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