5 Reasons to Finalize Your Divorce Before Buying a Home

Many people who have separated from their spouses want or need to buy another home after vacating the marital home. But before you head out house shopping, you may want to finalize your divorce legally. Why is it important to get the divorce done before purchasing property? Here are five important reasons.

1. It May Affect Negotiated Assets

In many states and in most divorce negotiations, the goal of the division of assets is to create an equitable arrangement that both parties can accept and benefit from. But if negotiations are ongoing, any large new asset purchase could make you appear to have less need or more resources. This in turn could alter how much you can get during negotiation. 

2. It Could Be a Marital Asset

For divorce purposes, anything earned or bought during the marriage is usually considered subject to division. Once you have broken up, some assets you then obtain on your own may be exempt, but your spouse may try to claim partial ownership of the new property depending on funding sources and timing. The last thing you want is to lose any portion of it to your ex. 

3. Your Finances Are in Flux

As long as the divorce is still in the future or is pending, your post-divorce finances are not set in stone. Therefore, committing yourself to a large purchase that may come with an obligatory mortgage payment — and the regular expenses of homeownership — may not be a good plan yet. After signing your divorce agreement, you know what you will have to work with. 

4. You May Change Your Mind

Many experts recommend waiting months or even a year before making major decisions after divorce. As one of the most serious life-changing events, divorce is a time when people can act rashly or make unwise choices. By getting your divorce completed now, you start giving yourself time to decide what you want your future to look like before committing to anything. 

5. It's More Complicated

Because you're still legally tied to your spouse and in the middle of a legal matter, trying to buy a house during divorce is complex. You'll likely need approval from the court, agreement from the spouse, and additional approvals from the seller or lender. On the other hand, a fully divorced person can breeze through their purchase much easier. 

While it may seem less convenient to finalize your divorce before buying new property, it will save you time, money, and stress. So the best way to start is to move forward with divorce as soon as possible so you can start moving on to the next chapter. Make an appointment to meet with a divorce law attorney in your state today to begin.