When it comes to dividing property in a divorce, there is no question that the process can prove to be much more difficult than the soon-to-be former spouses anticipated. That’s because in addition to working out the financial details, which is always a sensitive topic, it may involve feelings of sentimentality.
A textbook example of this is the marital home, as not only are couples often emotionally attached to it after years of living there, but it’s frequently their single largest asset subject to division.
Once a final settlement is reached concerning the marital home and all other marital property, however, the spouses will be free to move forward.
Not surprisingly, the first major move for many people post-divorce is to find a better place to live. What is surprising, however, is that some people, fresh off an exhausting battle over the marital home, actually decide to turn around and purchase a new home to start this new chapter of their lives.
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, experts indicate that there are a few questions that a recently divorced person will likely want to ask themselves before going shopping for a new house.
Are you still listed as one of the owners of the marital home?
There is a good chance that if you are recently divorced that your name is still on the marital home. It could be that you and your former spouse are waiting for market conditions to improve before selling and splitting the profit, or it could be that your former spouse was given the house in the divorce but hasn’t yet gotten around to refinancing the home into just their name.
This is significant for a divorced person looking to buy a home, as the amount of the outstanding mortgage for the marital home (if any) will appear on their credit report and may make it difficult for them to secure financing for their new home.
Do you have money set aside to cover the up-front costs of purchasing a home?
All prospective homeowners, especially the recently divorced, will want to ensure that they have sufficient cash reserves set aside to cover the up-front costs of purchasing a home, which can include an inspection, earnest money deposit, closing costs and, of course, moving.
Are you prepared to be a single homeowner?
While moving into a new house after a divorce can feel exciting and even cathartic, it’s important not to forget that unexpected — and steep — maintenance costs can arise at any time and that running a house on your own will require more work than you perhaps anticipated.
None of this is meant to dissuade, but rather simply to inform. In the meantime, if you would like to learn more about divorce, including your options as they relate to property division, please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible.