Should I Buy a New Home During My Divorce?

Division of property in a divorce

One of the first tasks many embark on during or after a divorce action, is the purchase of a new home. However, this process can be overwhelming when considering the division of your assets and debts and removal of your spouse’s income. Therefore, we have provided some helpful information regarding this important process after a divorce.

The first thing to consider when buying a house is your qualifications for a home loan. Mortgage lenders require a great deal of information regarding your income, outstanding debts, and assets before approving your application. However, many of these details will be unsettled if you are in the middle of a divorce proceeding. For instance, a large portion of the divorce process involves the division of marital assets and liabilities. Therefore, the assets you may believe you will retain after the divorce is finalized could potentially be given to your spouse. Further, although debts may be removed from your name, your also have the potential to be held responsible for marital debts and also acquire new payments such as alimony or child support. All of these items will be considered by the lenders and it will be difficult to determine your exact income, expenses, assets, and liabilities if your divorce is not finalized. Therefore, this uncertainty may result in a rejection of a loan or higher interest rates.

Another consideration of a lender is your credit score. During a marriage, it is common for couples to open joint credit cards and hold loans jointly. However, during a divorce it is not uncommon for credit card payments, loans, and common household bills to be missed or joint accounts to be closed. Missed payments and closure of accounts can hinder your credit score. A low credit score or a negative report can greatly impact your ability to obtain a loan or obtain one that you may be able to afford. Therefore, in order to combat these negative reports, you may need to open loans or credit lines in your own name separate from your spouse. You can apply small loans to these accounts and make regular payments to increase your credit score again.

Legally, if you buy a home prior to your divorce being finalized, your spouse may assert a claim to this property. Under the Florida Constitution, whether you are married, separated, or in the middle of a divorce action, your spouse must sign a waiver regarding their rights to the home you purchase, even if they are not mentioned in the loan and have no intention to live on the property. If your spouse refuses to sign, the loan may be canceled by the lender.

Buying a home can be an overwhelming and stressful experience, this is especially true when this purchase comes during a divorce proceeding. Therefore, it is important to approach these purchases with proper information about how a divorce may affect your new home purchases. Discuss your desire to buy a home during your divorce action with your divorce attorney to ensure you are properly advised and protected.

Speaking to an attorney at our Pensacola office is free of charge, and we accept calls 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Contact us at (800) 822-5170 or complete an online contact form to get in touch with a member of our team today.

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