Refinancing Your Home Loan Debt After A Divorce

Rates and Fees verified correct on December 10th, 2016

If you have recently become divorced or separated from your spouse then it may be time to consider refinancing. Lenders might class this as two separate transactions; a refinance and a purchase.

Refinancing-after-a-divorce2According the Australian Bureau of statistics, in Australia, there are around 50,000 divorces each year. There are many nuances when it comes to handling financial decisions after a divorce or separation.

Many want to know what to do with the family home or investment properties when separation or divorce occurs. There are a few options, which include:

  • Buying out the property share owned by your ex-spouse
  • Selling your property share to your ex-spouse
  • Selling the home and sharing the profits

These are the simplest ways to distribute assets after you get a divorce or separation.

Comparison of Home Loans

Rates last updated December 10th, 2016.

CUA Kick Start Variable Home Loan - 2 Years Introductory (Owner Occupier)

Comparative rate decreases by 0.03%

November 29th, 2016

UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Standard Variable Rate (Investor with Investor Extra Offer P&I)

Comparative rate decreases by 0.10% | Interest rate decreases by 0.10%

December 2nd, 2016

UBank UHomeLoan Variable Rate - Standard Variable Rate Value Offer (Owner Occupier P&I)

Comparative rate increases by 0.10% | Interest rate increases by 0.10%

December 2nd, 2016

View latest updates

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Interest Rate (p.a.) Comp Rate^ (p.a.) Application Fee Ongoing Fees Max LVR Monthly Payment
3.74% 3.74% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
HSBC Home Value Loan - Resident Owner Occupier only
Enjoy the low variable rate with $0 ongoing fee and borrow up to 90% LVR.
3.55% 3.57% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Essentials - Variable Refinancers Only (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A low-interest rate loan suited for refinancing with no application or ongoing fees.
3.59% 3.61% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 1 Year Fixed ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive interest rate for loans over $150k. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.59% 4.42% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
ANZ Breakfree Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) $150k+
This 2 year fixed ANZ Breakfree Package rate comes with package discount and product bundle. Terms and conditions, package fee and fees, charges & eligibility criteria apply.
3.75% 4.62% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
ClickLoans The Online Home Loan - Owner Occupier ≤ 80% LVR
Enjoy a competitive interest rate when you have a deposit of at least 20%.
3.69% 3.69% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
NAB Choice Package Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed rate package loan with flexible repayments options. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.
3.75% 4.87% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Basic Home Loan - Variable (Owner Occupier)
A competitive variable that allows borrowers to borrow from a minimum of $100,000 and $0 ongoing fee.
3.59% 3.60% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
CUA Kick Start Variable Home Loan - 2 Years Introductory (Owner Occupier)
Borrow up to 90% LVR and enjoy an introductory rate for the first 2 years.
3.69% 3.87% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable Spring Special - LVR 80% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.59% 3.92% $0 $299 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Kick Starter Home Loan
$0 ongoing service fees, maximum 80% LVR and a linked transaction account.
3.79% 3.82% $600 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
ME Bank Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A competitive 3 year fixed rate with a redraw facility and split loan options, plus no application fee.
3.84% 4.66% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Premium Plus Package Home Loan - New Customer Offer ($150,000+ Owner Occupier)
Apply for a new owner occupier loan or refinance from another lender and receive this discounted rate.
3.74% 4.12% $0 $395 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Budget Home Loan - LVR <=90% (Owner Occupier)
A competitive budget rate without any unwanted bells and whistles.
3.87% 3.92% $445 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Switzer Home Loan
No upfront or ongoing fees and a competitive variable rate for owner occupiers.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
State Custodians Standard Variable Spring Special - LVR 90% (Owner Occupier)
Special Owner Occupier Rate. Free Offset Account.
3.69% 4.02% $0 $299 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
3.94% 4.33% $0 $395 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A discounted rate with 100% offset account. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89% 4.27% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier) LVR < 80%
Buy a new home even if you haven't yet sold your existing one with the bankmecu Bridging Loan
3.69% 4.24% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
IMB Accelerator Home Loan  - LVR <=80% $300k+ (Owner Occupier)
A two year discounted rate which reverts to an ongoing life of loan discount afterwards.
3.64% 4.39% $445 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Great Rate Home Loan - Discounted Variable ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
A competitive rate with redraw facility. NSW, QLD and ACT residents only.
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
ClickLoans The Online Investor Home Loan - LVR <70%
An investment home loan with competitive rate and 100% offset account.
3.79% 3.79% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Greater Bank Ultimate Home Loan - Discounted 2 Year Fixed ($150K+ Owner Occupier)
Discount off an already competitive 2 year fixed rate for loans over $150k. NSW,QLD and ACT residents only.
3.74% 4.40% $0 $375 p.a. 85% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Years Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy a low interest rate and borrow up to 95% (with LMI) of your home value.
3.99% 4.81% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
AMP Essential Home Loan  -  Owner Occupier
Take advantage of a redraw facility, competitive variable rate and no application or settlement fees for a limited time.
3.98% 4.00% $350 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Bank Australia Premium Home Loan Package - LVR<=80% $700k + (Owner Occupier)
Enjoy the discounted interest rate with redraw facility and no ongoing fees.
3.74% 4.09% $0 $350 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Beyond Bank Low Rate Special Home Loan
A special low variable rate for Owner Occupier with 100% offset account and no application or ongoing fees.
3.73% 3.73% $0 $0 p.a. 70% Go to site More info
Switzer Fixed Rate Home Loans - 2 Years Fixed Rate
A competitive 2 year fixed rate with your very own lending service manager.
3.97% 3.99% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Australian Unity Health, Wealth and Happiness Package - (Owner Occupier)
Get a 0.60% discount on your rate, a 100% offset account and no ongoing fees.
3.99% 4.02% $600 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
Newcastle Permanent Building Society Fixed Rate Home Loan - 1 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Get a short term fixed rate for that investment property with no application or ongoing fees.
3.99% 4.90% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
CUA Fixed Rate Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
A fixed home loan with no ongoing fees and flexible repayments options.
3.69% 4.56% $600 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
loans.com.au Fixed - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Another low interest rate offer from loans.com.au. No application fee to pay.
3.89% 3.72% $0 $0 p.a. 90% Go to site More info
3.89% 3.89% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
Switzer Investment Loan
An investment loan with no application or ongoing fees, and your very own lending service manager.
4.09% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
IMB Essential Home Loan - LVR < 80% (Owner Occupier)
100% offset account, unrestricted additional repayments and no monthly account keeping fees
4.09% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 80% Go to site More info
ME Bank Flexible Home Loan Fixed - 2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
No application or ongoing fees and a competitive 2 year fixed rate.
3.84% 4.75% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
NAB Base Variable Rate Home Loan - Owner Occupier (P&I)
A competitive no frills home loan with no application fees for a limited time. 250,000 Velocity Frequent Flyer point offer, conditions apply.
4.10% 4.14% $0 $0 p.a. 95% Go to site More info
Commonwealth Bank Wealth Package Fixed Home Loan - 2 Year Fixed (Owner Occupier)
Fee free extra repayments available during the fixed term. $1,250 cash back offer for refinancers. Conditions apply.
3.99% 5.00% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
Suncorp Home Package Plus Fixed - 3 Year Fixed Rate (Special Offer $150k+ LVR <=90% Owner Occupier)
Lock in a special offer rate for 3 years for loans over $150k with LVR below 90%.
3.64% 4.26% $0 $375 p.a. 90% More info
St.George Fixed Rate Advantage Package -  2 Year Fixed Rate (Owner Occupier)
A discounted package rate for owner occupiers with the ability to package a Qantas rewards earning Amplify credit card. $1,500 cash back available for refinancers, conditions apply.
3.99% 5.07% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
Westpac Fixed Options Home Loan Premier Advantage Package - 2 Years
A low interest rate home loan and competitive two year fixed rate.
3.99% 4.97% $0 $395 p.a. 95% More info
St.George Basic Home Loan - Promotional Rate (Owner Occupier, P&I)
A no frills loan with a competitive rate and a maximum LVR of 95%.
4.08% 4.09% $0 $0 p.a. 95% More info
Westpac Flexi First Option Home Loan - 3 Years Introductory Special Offer (New Owner Occupier, P&I)
A limited time deal for new owner occupiers. Advertised rate includes 1.03%p.a. discount for the first two years.
3.99% 4.37% $0 $0 p.a. 95% More info

The drawbacks of buying out your ex-spouse

There are many couples who divorce or separate under less than ideal conditions, which means that even when you agree to dividing up your assets, you could still meet with difficulties. Here are some of the drawbacks:

  • Issues may arise when you want to come to an agreement about the cash settlement after the property has been sold.
  • Bad credit may exist on your credit file due to unpaid bills related to the divorce
  • Both of you may refrain paying the mortgage based on legal advice
  • You may not have anticipated the separation and may not be prepared to put in another home loan application

Mortgages to pay out your ex-spouse

You could overcome these obstacles or difficulties by applying for a home loan to pay out a settlement for divorce, an agreement for separation or settling a property. However, a bank will assess any of these as either an acquisition or a refinance. Because of this, you will find that the lending institution will evaluate the loan application differently by applying a variety of lending conditions, which could include:

  • Proof of funds needed to pay out your ex-spouse, if there is not enough equity in the home. This is similar to a home loan purchase.
  • The bank may not ask for proof of savings as they would a purchase.
  • An excellent history of repayment on your existing home loan is necessary. This is similar to a refinance loan.

Is now a good time to refinance your mortgage?

See below for some options when refinancing your home loan. You may also want to contact a broker to discuss your situation further.

Can you take possession of the home loan?

While other countries may allow you to take possession of the home loan, in Australia, the bank does not allow you to take over someone else's loan. You cannot simply remove an individual from the loan agreement. The only option is to refinance your loan and get a different loan in either your name or the name of the individual retaining the property's ownership.

What if you have neglected loan repayments?

It is not uncommon for individuals who are experiencing a divorce or separation to miss some of their mortgage repayments. In many cases, disputes will arise over which partner should pay, and because of the emotional chaos many individuals will not remember to make regular payments. If you plan to buy out your ex-spouse it is good practice to continue paying your share of the mortgage. Skimping on payments doesn't reflect well on your credit file and may make it harder to apply for a home loan to finish up the settlement. Most mortgage lenders will not refinance a home loan unless the borrower has flawless repayments for six consecutive months.

Is it possible to be in arrears with a loan and still get approved?

There are some lenders that will agree to three month repayment history if there are no other credit issues. These lenders will take a look at your overall situation, regardless of the number of payments missed. You will, however, have to provide proof that you can make the new repayments in spite of the fact that you had not made them before.

The bank valuation is crucial to your refinanced loan

If the lender does a valuation on the property and the figure comes in at a low cost, the loan could be declined. This may cause you to halt the divorce settlement, which would prevent you from dividing the property successfully. Unfortunately, there is no way you can control the valuation provided by the lender. Before you submit your application, you can seek the assistance of an experienced mortgage broker who will be able to get different valuations from various lenders. You would then put in an application to the lender that has the most satisfactory valuation. It should be noted, though, that the drawback of putting in so many applications is that too many credit enquiries can damage your credit score and make it more difficult to qualify for a loan.

Understanding the value of your house to the bank

How much am I able to borrow?

If your history of repayment has been excellent and you meet all the bank guidelines, then it is possible to get a loan for 95% of the value of your property. You will have to pay lenders mortgage insurance (LMI) if you borrow more than 80% of the value of your property. If you want to borrow in excess of 95% of the value of your property, a security guarantee is needed. Calculate how much you can borrow with our calculator.

Can I use child support payment as income to get a home loan?

Yes, some lenders will accept your child support benefit as income when applying for a mortgage however this will vary depending on the lender. The following may apply:

  • Age of dependents. Most lenders will take into account the age and number of dependents that you have. The older your children, the less likely the lender will accept your Family Tax Benefit (FTB) income, particularly children aged 11 years and over.
  • Centrelink statements. The lender will request at least 6 months of Centrelink statements. You can download a statement from the Department of Human Services website.

Family Tax Benefits (FTB) Part A and B and child support income are accepted by a number of lenders. However, keep in mind that some lenders view child support payments as an unreliable source of income so they may not take this into consideration when reviewing your borrowing capacity.

Find out more about home loans for Centrelink recipients.

When speaking to your mortgage broker or lender about your situation, you'll need to specify whether the child support payments are via the Child Support Agency (CSA) and whether the payments are court ordered.

You may also be required to supply the following paperwork:

  • A copy of the Family Court Order
  • Statements showing the benefit being deposited into your account
  • A letter from your solicitor confirming the status of the benefit

What about stamp duty?

In a lot of cases, you won't have to pay stamp duty when buying out the property share of your ex-spouse, whether it is a single family home or investment property. One thing to note is that you will be obligated to pay capital gains tax (CGT) when the property ownership is transferred on an investment property. Stamp duty is a complex legal issue, so you must speak with a solicitor for confirmation of applicable stamp duty, depending on your situation.

Case Study: Todd and Jenny

refinance after divorce case studyTodd and Jenny had been married for almost 10 years when their marriage started to fall apart. They had a $340,000 home loan on a property valued at $425,000 and had been diligently paying it over the years and had the balance at $280,000. They had avoided LMI by saving a substantial deposit to have an LVR of 80%.

After the divorce there were questions around the property and who should take what and how much share each would get. After consulting with a solicitor it was decided that Todd would buy out Jenny's half of the property. Here's the buy out scheme they worked out. The solicitor has assumed a 6% capital growth of the property each year.

Property value including capital growth increase

YearProperty Value
1$450,500.00
2$477,530.00
3$506,181.80
4$536,552.71
5$568,745.87
6$602,870.62
7$639,042.86
8$677,385.43
9$718,028.56
10$761,110.27

Details on Todd and Jenny's Home Loan

  • Average interest rate (ABA stats): 0.0726
  • Loan term: 30 years
  • Repayment frequency: monthly
  • Repayment type: P&I
  • Monthly repayments: $2,321.71
  • Principal left after 10 years: $296,729.10
  • Equity build up: $43,270.90

To work out how much Todd owes Jenny the solicitor divides the total property value at the end of their marriage by the original property value. To buy out Jenny, Todd will need to pay $380,555.14

Property value 3

Recently divorced? It may also be time to consider reviewing your life insurance policy

If you have recently separated with your partner, it could be worth also reviewing your current life insurance cover to ensure you still have adequate cover in place. You may currently have a joint policy in place with your spouse that you would like to review or you may want to adjust the beneficiaries on your policy. Just as getting married is a key time to consider taking out life cover, divorce is an important time to review the cover you have in place to ensure it still meets your needs. Review your life insurance and receive a free quote for cover If you are need of more information about refinancing please use the links below. If you have any questions please submit one below.

Marc Terrano

A passionate publisher who loves to tell a story. Learning and teaching personal finance is his main lot at finder.com.au. Talk to him to find out more about home loans.

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90 Responses to Refinancing Your Home Loan Debt After A Divorce

  1. Default Gravatar
    Steve | November 16, 2015

    I am going through a divorce and wife wants to sell the family house. I have used the equity in the family to buy an investment property. This 2nd property in my name only. Do I have to sell the investment property before we can sell the family house. What are my options?

    • Staff
      Belinda | November 17, 2015

      Hi Steve,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      finder.com.au is an online comparison service so we are not licensed to provide you with personal financial advice.

      As you’ll see above on this page, one of the ways to distribute assets following a divorce is to sell the property and share the proceeds. If all the equity in the family home has been used to purchase the investment property, then you may need to sell the investment property first. However, there may be other options available to you depending on any other assets that you own.

      I strongly suggest that you seek legal and financial advice regarding your options in this situation.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  2. Default Gravatar
    lyn | July 6, 2015

    I am being divorced after 16 yrs of marriage. I have a medical condition and on a disability pension. My ex is a professional.

    My quality of life going forward will of course be in an extreme difference to his.

    I am retaining the majority of custody of our child. A lawyer has told me all things considered, particularly spousal support wise. I am entitled to have the house. There is no equity in it at this stage.

    However due to being a pensioner i don’t think Id meet the refinancing requirements. Isn’t that must be whats done. The house is not merely transferred to me.

    • Staff
      Belinda | July 8, 2015

      Hi Iyn,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      Firstly, I’d like to point out that finder.com.au is an online comparison and general information service and we can’t offer personalised advice.

      Your best course of action would be to fill out the form on this page to speak with a mortgage broker and continue to seek legal counsel to discuss your options.

      All the best,
      Belinda

  3. Default Gravatar
    Karen | July 6, 2015

    I have a new partner. He is paying the mortgage but is not in the title. Do we pay him back first and then split the difference or because he is living with me in the home is he just considered to be me paying the mortgage?

    • Staff
      Belinda | July 7, 2015

      Hi Karen,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      Please note that finder.com.au is an online comparison and general information service so we can’t offer specific advice regarding this situation.

      Your best course of action would be to fill out the form above on this page to speak with a mortgage broker to discuss your options. You may also want to consider speaking with a solicitor.

      On this page you can learn more about the process of adding a partner’s name to your property title.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  4. Default Gravatar
    john | May 31, 2015

    I own my home and am borrowing 50 k against it for renos. do I pay stamp duty

    • Staff
      Belinda | June 1, 2015

      Hi John,

      Thanks for your enquiry.

      If you are refinancing, you may have to pay stamp duty again.

      Please note that the requirements and legislation for stamp duty will vary according to the state.

      On this page, you can read more about stamp duty and fill out the form to speak with a mortgage broker.

      Thanks,
      Belinda

  5. Default Gravatar
    Lisa | May 11, 2015

    My ex is happy to sign the house over to me do I need to refinance or can he just take his name off

    • Staff
      Jodie | May 12, 2015

      Hi Lisa,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      You are able to remove someones name from the title but unfortunately Australia does not allow someone to just be removed from a mortgage, in order to remove a name from a mortgage it will need to be refinanced. Please contact your lender or a mortgage broker to discuss the exact process and any fees involved with this.

      Regards
      Jodie

  6. Default Gravatar
    Mr | May 5, 2015

    My wife and I are separating and owe $380,000 on our house. It has been valued at $530,000 so to keep the house myself do I need to pay her $150,000?

    • Staff
      Jodie | May 12, 2015

      Hi Mr Mac,

      Thanks for your question.

      You’ll need to speak to a solicitor to confirm and initiate this. Generally if you and your ex-wife as well as your solicitors will work off the valuation of the property to work out how much it would cost to buy out her half.

      But this would all be discussed with your solicitor.

      Regards
      Jodie

  7. Default Gravatar
    Gaynor | April 18, 2015

    is it an criminal offence if my husband borrows money from the equity on our house, without my consent

    • Staff
      Jodie | May 8, 2015

      Hi Gaynor,

      Thank you for getting in touch.

      You have come through to finder.com.au. a financial comparison site, we are not able to advise on the legalities around a properties ownership. Please contact a local solicitor who can assist with these discussions.

      Regards
      Jodie

  8. Default Gravatar
    Sandra | April 6, 2015

    4 siblings own an investment property handed down to them by parents many many years ago and two would like to sell their portion off to the two that would like to hang onto it. How does the house get valued and by whom. Does the house need to go to auction? Who decides the value of the house?

    Thanks

    • Staff
      Shirley | April 7, 2015

      Hi Sandra,

      Thanks for your question.

      Should you acquire a deceased estate, it is CGT-free if sold within two years of the death, or continues to be the main residence of the beneficiary.

      Generally your CGT liability is based on what you sold the asset for, minus the cost base plus deductions.

      The ATO may also require a valuation done by a certified valuer.

      For a more detailed discussion of your circumstances, please contact The Property Tax Specialists today.

      DISCLAIMER

      Readers should not act on the information above without obtaining professional advice relevant to their circumstances. It is intended as information only.

  9. Default Gravatar
    Leigh | April 4, 2015

    Hi
    We wish to buy half of our daughters unit (which she lives in now) so she can buy a bigger home for herself and children, but keep the unit, which would be rented.
    Can we take out separate loans as 50/50 owners of the first home as our tax situation will be different?
    Do we need to get a sworn valuation for future tax purposes as the unit will become an investment property and subject to capital gains tax?
    Thank you greatly for your assistance.
    Regards
    Leigh

    • Staff
      Shirley | April 7, 2015

      Hi Leigh,

      Thanks for your question.

      You can take out two separate loans with the one lender for the property, but this will be up to the discretion of the lender.

      The lender will most likely request a valuation on the property when the loans are applied for. You can use this as documentation in the future when figuring our CGT. CGT is generally based on what you acquired the asset for and the selling price.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

  10. Default Gravatar
    Sally | March 7, 2015

    I am thinking about buying in half of my friends house. We will be 50/50 partners and use this house as an investment. Will I have to pay stamp duty or any other kinds of taxes?
    Regards
    Sally

    • Staff
      Shirley | March 9, 2015

      Hi Sally,

      Thanks for your question.

      Please note that rules and regulations regarding stamp duty vary according to the state or territory that holds the property.

      In NSW, you typically need to pay stamp duty though there are some exemptions. If the property isn’t used as your main residence, land tax may also apply.

      A conveyancer can help you with the buying process for a fee.

      Cheers,
      Shirley

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