How Getting a Divorce Impacts Buying a Home
If you are in the midst of a divorce, you are likely eager to get on with the next phase of your life. You might be planning to buy a house in order to establish a new home for yourself and your children. Yet if you plan to divorce soon, are in the midst of a divorce, or have just finalized a divorce, buying a home can be complex. Divorce adds a slate of new considerations and complications to the home-buying process. Read on to learn about how divorce affects buying a home in New Jersey. Call a dedicated New Jersey divorce and property distribution attorney with any questions or for help preparing for divorce.
Buying a Home During Divorce is Complicated
If you are planning to divorce, or you are already in the midst of a divorce, it might not be the best time to purchase a house. In New Jersey, any property you acquire while you’re married counts as marital property and is subject to equitable distribution upon divorce. Whether that includes property acquired even after the divorce has been filed but before the final judgment dissolving the marriage is issued is a complex matter.
If you and your spouse have executed a marital settlement agreement and are waiting to finalize the divorce, then the house might be separate property. If, however, you do not yet have an agreement and you use marital funds to purchase the house, your spouse could have the right to a share in the property. If the house was purchased with income acquired after the divorce was filed, the results may be different. The court might even require you to obtain court approval before making a purchase with marital funds.
Moreover, purchasing a home may affect the court’s analysis regarding property division and support. The court could view the purchase as indicating you have more resources than you actually do, which might lead to an order granting you less of the marital estate than you’d like. Talk to your divorce and property division attorney before you make any big purchases during the divorce process.
Divorce Can Affect Your Income and Assets
Even if you plan to purchase the house after the divorce is finalized, it’s important to keep in mind that your financial situation will be affected by the divorce. You may be splitting your income, and you may need to dole out much of your assets and net worth. You’ll need to pay your attorney, your accountant, and other fees relating to your divorce and the changes to your life. You might need to start paying child support and spousal support, which is a big adjustment.
Depending on your circumstances, you may simply not have the liquidity to put up a down payment on the home you’d like. Moreover, your change in circumstances can affect your credit. Mortgage lenders are not likely to flat-out refuse you simply because you’re in the middle of a divorce, but the divorce could affect the interest rate they offer. It may be worth waiting for some time after the divorce until you are on surer footing with regard to your disposable income and assets.
Unpaid Support Hurts Your Credit
If you are ordered to pay child support and spousal support, it’s important to stay on top of those obligations. While the fact of your support obligation should not affect your credit, any missed payments can do damage. Unpaid child support may be classified as a “collection” or judgment against you. If your ex obtains a court order against you, they may be able to garnish your wage or put a lien on your property. All of these things negatively impact your credit, rendering it much more difficult to obtain a mortgage, or causing the offered interest rate to skyrocket.
Call for Compassionate Advice and Assistance for Your New Jersey Divorce
If you need seasoned legal help with equitable distribution of property, child custody, separation, divorce, child support, alimony, or other family law matters in New Jersey, contact the Union offices of family law attorney John B. D’Alessandro at 908-964-0102.