During the divorce, can the court order a spouse to refinance the marital residence?

 

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Under New York State Statute, specifically Domestic Relations Law 234, courts have the authority to take affirmative action to preserve the marital estate during the course of litigation. In fact, in one New York case, where the wife refused to refinance the marital residence, the court ordered her to refinance the marital residence where refinancing would result ina mortgage with a lower interest rate and thus reduce the expense of the carrying costs.

At the same time, however, the court did not permit the husband or require the wife to increase the amount of the current mortgage liability.  The court reasoned that while it could protect the marital estate by ordering the wife to refinance, it would not protect the marital estate by ordering actions that could increase the amount of the debt and decrease the amount of equity.

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