Can I Buy a House Before the Divorce is Finalized?
You and your spouse have decided to divorce. Your spouse is staying in the marital home, while you have decided to move out. Instead of downsizing to an apartment, though, you have your eye on a house. You really want to purchase this house, but your divorce has not yet been finalized. What are your options? Can you buy the house while the divorce is pending, or must you absolutely wait until the divorce is finalized?
You can purchase the house before you receive the divorce decree. However, if done improperly, you could make some serious mistakes that could impact your finances and affect ownership of the home. Read on to find out what you should consider when buying a home soon after filing for divorce.
What to Consider
The home needs to be within your budget, and your budget could very well change once the marital agreement is signed. You will most likely have a new financial situation once your divorce is finalized. You may be asked to take on more debt now that you have a new asset. When calculating your mortgage payment, are you considering the fact that you may be paying child support or alimony? Besides the mortgage payment, are you considering taxes and homeowner’s insurance? Combined, these expenses should be no more than 28% of your gross income.
If you are unsure of your future obligations, then you should hold off. An oral agreement is not set in stone. Things can change as the divorce progresses. Plus, the lender will likely want to see proof of new income and obligations. They will want to see the signed marital agreement.
Another thing to consider is that if you purchase any new assets before the divorce is finalized, it could be considered marital property under state laws. This is especially true if you plan on using marital funds to buy the house. Don’t do it. If you truly want this home, you’ll have to use your own money to pay for the monthly payments, the down payment and other costs.
Even if you do use your own money to buy the house, you will need to prove it is separate property. Otherwise, your spouse could receive their share of it in the divorce. The best way to do this is to execute a legal property agreement. This would be signed by you and your spouse and approved by the court. Therefore, your spouse will need to approve.
Contact a Maryland Divorce Lawyer Today
When going through a divorce, it’s important to understand what things you can do while the divorce is in process and what things you should hold off on doing until after the divorce is finalized. Buying a house during the divorce could affect property division and other aspects.
A Columbia divorce lawyer at the Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. can advise you of the divorce process and help you improve your financial situation after a divorce. We have two offices to serve you. Schedule a free consultation today. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form.