By: Brian Paul

The CARES Act includes a provision allowing a borrower to defer mortgage payments for up to 180 days.

Homeowners who have federally backed mortgages (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA or USDA loans) and are experiencing financial hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic may request forbearance for up to 180 days. During this period, borrowers will not incur fees, penalties or interest due to not making their mortgage payments. To receive the deferral, you do not have to prove the condition of your finances; you only have to attest to it. But you do have to contact your loan servicer to have your payments postponed. You may request an additional 180 days of mortgage relief if needed.

In addition, if your mortgage is held by a private lender, you should still contact it to see if it is providing mortgage relief. Many banks, including Fifth Third Bank, Marcus (Goldman Sachs) and TD Bank, are suspending payments or offering special terms.

Brian Paul is a family law attorney and partner in the Lawrenceville, NJ law firm of Szaferman, Lakind.  He can be reached at 609-275-0400 or via email at

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The foregoing is intended for general information purposes and is no substitute for specific legal advice.