Although going through a divorce is often a sad and painful experience, it is also a time of new beginnings. For many newly-divorced people, this means buying a new home. However, getting a mortgage as a divorcing or newly-divorced person may present challenges you hadn't anticipated.
Lenders are hesitant to grant a mortgage to someone in the midst of a divorce -- even if the prospective borrower has a good income and credit score -- if there are undetermined issues like child and spousal support. Even when those issues are decided, support payments are debts that lenders will consider when determining your ability to repay the mortgage. Even if you have no support obligations, if you and your spouse have a mortgage based on both of your incomes, you may find it difficult to a mortgage for your post-divorce dream home based on your salary alone.
If you are moving out of the family residence, the best scenario may be to get your name off the mortgage and for your ex to refinance it on his/her own. However, that's not always a viable option financially. One family law attorney notes that it is common for both spouses to continue to own the home after the divorce, particularly if your children live there. This may be the best option until the kids are in college or the spouse residing there can afford to refinance the mortgage or move into another home.
If you are going this route, as long as the two of you are able to cohabit peacefully, staying in the home together through the divorce proceedings will save you money that you can later invest in your new residence. It will also show ease children's divorce stress to see that their parents can still get along (presuming that you can). Some spouses with children do what in the divorce field is called "nesting." That means that one spouse rents an apartment close to their home so they can remain active in their children's lives.
Homes are still one of the largest investments, if not the largest, that most North Dakotans will make. It's essential to determine, with the guidance of your family law attorney and possibly financial and real estate consultants, what you and your spouse will do with the family residence and how you plan to eventually move on to owning your own individual homes.
Source: U.S. News and World Report, "How to Get a Mortgage After a Divorce" Geoff Williams, Oct. 29, 2014