Can she force me to sell/refinance my home?

My wife left in December of last year and abandoned the house, the car, most of her property and our dogs. She has refused to contribute financially to any of our joint financial responsibilities and has also refused to work on a separation agreement. As we approach the halfway mark through our separation, I am getting increasingly worried as to what will happen after the year and a day has passed and we file for divorce. My primary concerns are as follows:

1 - We are currently going through a foreclosure on another home, which has severely damaged my credit (as well as hers, of course). Given that, it will be a number of years before I can refinance the home I am living in (that she abandoned) or the car.

2 - Like most homeowners, I find myself underwater on my mortgage (home is worth less than what I/we owe). Given that, it will be a number of years before I can sell.

3 - She will probably not want anything to do with the house or the car after the divorce, and my understanding is that she can insist that a judge order that the home must be refinanced and/or sold within a given amount of time. Given the situation outlined above, I am not sure that what a judge would deem as reasonable would be within the realm of possibility.

To keep up with the joint financial obligations that she left me, I have changed jobs and radically altered my lifestyle, and have been able to get to a point where I am able to afford everything. If after all that struggle, I was forced to foreclose simply to avoid legal penalties, I feel as if I will have wasted thousands and thousands of dollars and would be better off walking away now.

Thoughts would be very much appreciated!

I cannot predict the outcome of any one case, but if you are able to afford the home and it is not affecting or harming your ex’s credit, and there is no equity to divide you have a better chance at winning an argument that you be allowed to retain the home for a longer period of time rather than forcing a sale now.

Thanks for your quick response. Based on your experience, would a judge ever consider having some sort of stipulation in an ED that is based on a factor other than time? For instance, would it be possible to state “will refinance when credit score reaches xxx and can qualify for a new mortgage at a reasonable rate” as opposed to “will refinance within x number of years?”

I have not seen anything like that in my practice, but anything is possible!