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Buying a House after a Divorce

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Divorce Do's and Dont's

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This week, the US News featured an article entitled, “How to Get a Mortgage After a Divorce.” The article focused on the unique obstacles faced by recently divorced or divorcing individuals when they attempt to buy a new home. Divorce can be difficult for a myriad of reasons; breaking away from someone you once loved can be stressful and emotional. However, add to the equation that you may also need to leave your home, and divorce becomes even harder.


Finding a new house after a divorce isn’t always easy. Credit and stream of income are two of the most influential factors that lenders consider when deciding to give a mortgage loan. Divorce can have a negative effect on your ability to buy a new house. For example, whereas in the past you were a two-income household, you now only have your own income to rely on. Also if you are now required to pay alimony, you have less money than you once did.


Geoff Williams, the author of the article, gives tips to recently divorced or divorcing individuals who are considering buying a new home:


1. “You may want to get your name or your ex’s name off the mortgage.” If your ex-spouse has been awarded the marital home and you are considering buying your own home, you may want to have your ex-spouse refinance the house in his/her own name. This will reduce the debt in your name and increase the likelihood of a lender giving you a new mortgage. However, this is not always plausible for all divorcing spouses. Sometimes the spouse who is awarded the home cannot afford to refinance on his/her own. Therefore, some divorcing couples may choose to both remain on the mortgage and co-own the property for several years. This is common when the parties have children and the relationship between the parties remains amicable.


2. “Don’t buy a home during the divorce proceedings.” Even if you have a solid stream of income and good credit, it is risky to purchase a new home when you are in the middle of a divorce. A major factor to consider is that your alimony and child support payments are still uncertain. Williams explains: “Alimony is considered a debt…If you make $10,000 a month and give $3,000 to your ex-spouse, the lender doesn’t look at it like you’re making $7,000 a month. They look at it like you have a $3,000 car payment every month.”


3. “Where should you live during the divorce proceedings?” Assuming the parties are not selling the marital home immediately, it is essential to work out a plan on where you and your spouse are going to live throughout the proceeding. Williams explains the two most common approaches taken by divorcing couples. The first option is to remain in the marital home together. Although this arrangement will only work if the parties can be civil, this may end up saving them a lot of money. In addition, maintaining a good relationship under the same roof can be good for the children. A second option is to rent an apartment near the marital home and live there throughout the divorce proceeding. This option enables the parties to be apart while still allowing the children to remain in their home.


Are you considering filing for divorce but concerned about losing your home or the potential repercussions divorce could have on your ability to buy a new house? You do not need to go through this alone. Contact the Law Offices of Jay D. Raxenberg to speak with an experienced, trusted and respected Long Island matrimonial attorney. Please call (516) 491-0565 or toll free at (888) 543-4867.

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