Thomas Petrelli, a family lawyer in Philadelphia, answers:
If the promissory note underlying the mortgage includes a recourse clause, the lender (mortgagee) can obtain a deficiency judgment against you and your spouse if the sale of the foreclosed home does not yield enough proceeds to cover the remaining mortgage balance and fees. If this is the case, both you and your spouse will be liable for the deficiency judgment if both your names were on the promissory note. You may not necessarily be responsible for 50% of the judgment, if you and your spouse agree to a different apportionment of the responsibility, or the court orders a different apportionment. However, some notes do not include recourse clauses. In that case, if the foreclosure sale does not cover the mortgage balance fees, the lender eats the difference.