What Happens if I Can’t Refinance after Divorce?


Divorce is a life-altering event that not only affects emotions but also finances. One significant concern for couples going through a divorce is what happens to their shared home. A refinance loan could be the answer to keeping the home after the divorce is finalized. However, not everyone can qualify for a refinance, leaving many feeling unsure about their options. In this article, we will explore the reasons refinancing might not be possible, as well as alternative solutions to consider.

Common Reasons Refinancing Isn’t an Option

Refinancing a mortgage allows you to assume full financial responsibility for the home you once shared with your spouse. Unfortunately, not everyone can qualify for a refinance, and there are common reasons for this:

Debt-to-Income Ratio

Lenders carefully assess your ability to repay the borrowed funds, considering your debt-to-income ratio. If your debts are too high compared to your income, refinancing might not seem like a smart option to lenders.

Credit Score

Another crucial factor lenders look at is your credit score. If you’ve neglected bills or financial obligations during the divorce process, your credit score might have suffered, making it challenging to qualify for a refinance.

What Should You Do Next?

If you find yourself unable to secure a refinance mortgage, don’t worry; there are other options to consider:

Consider a Release of Liability

Contact the bank managing your current home loan and explain your divorce situation. Request a formal document that removes your spouse from the mortgage, thus ensuring they won’t be liable for any missed payments. However, be aware that some lenders may only offer this release if you can prove you can handle the mortgage alone.

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Ask for More Time

If refinancing or liability release isn’t available, consider entering a formal agreement with your spouse in the divorce settlement. Agree to make all mortgage payments on time, under the current arrangement, until your credit score improves and you can qualify for a new mortgage. This could be enticing for your spouse, as they will eventually receive a payout when you refinance.

Buy Out Now

If your spouse is not willing to wait for refinancing, you may consider a buyout option. Find out the current value of your home and negotiate a trade of assets to keep the house. For example, you could offer your retirement account funds in exchange for sole ownership of the property. However, keep in mind the risks involved and ensure fairness for both parties.

Sell Your Home

In some cases, none of the above options may work. If your spouse is uncooperative, or you lack sufficient assets for a buyout, it might be time to sell your home. Although it may be difficult emotionally, selling the home can free both parties from ties to each other and allow you to explore new properties.


Divorce is undeniably challenging, and one of the most significant concerns is what happens to the shared home. While a refinance loan can be a favorable option, it’s not always available to everyone. Understanding the common reasons for refinancing denials and exploring alternative solutions is crucial to making the right decision for your post-divorce life.

Remember, whether you keep your home or move on, life has new possibilities waiting for you. Embrace the change, work closely with your partner, and find a divorce settlement that is fair and acceptable to both parties. Your future is bright, and there is a new chapter waiting to be written.

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FAQs After the Conclusion

  1. What is a refinance loan? A refinance loan allows you to pay off your shared mortgage and assume full financial responsibility for the home you once shared with your spouse.
  2. What should I do if I can’t refinance my mortgage? If refinancing is not an option, consider alternatives like a release of liability, asking for more time, a buyout, or selling your home.
  3. How do lenders assess my eligibility for refinancing? Lenders consider factors such as your debt-to-income ratio and credit score when determining your eligibility for refinancing.
  4. Can I keep my home after divorce? Yes, you may be able to keep your home by exploring options like refinancing or alternative agreements with your spouse.
  5. What if I can’t agree with my spouse on the home’s future? If you can’t reach an agreement, selling your home might be the best option to sever financial ties and move forward after divorce.

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