Q: I remarried 5 years ago. I’ve owned my house for the last 14 years. My husband’s last day at work will be Friday. I work, but my income is not going to be enough to pay for the mortgage, utilities, car payments, and our other expenses.

My husband wants to stop paying the mortgage. He said the mortgage company can lower the interest rate or make other arrangements if we’re late. If his name is not on the mortgage, can they work with us? My mortgage, with insurance and taxes included, is $1,149 a month.

A: If his name is not on the mortgage, then the mortgage company will not consider your husband’s income when calculating whether you can afford what you’re paying. But this could work in your favor.

Please contact your mortgage lender immediately to see if you qualify for an interest rate reduction. If you’ve been paying your mortgage for 14 years, you probably have a significant amount of equity in your house. You may be able to qualify for a refinance on the remaining mortgage balance at today’s historically low interest rates.

The important thing to know is that you do not need to be late paying on your mortgage to get help. You can also contact a HUD housing counselor (www.hud.gov and look for the link on the home page) or call 888-995-HOPE.

March 26, 2009