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Family law negotiations now can make buying homes later easier

Purchasing a home after divorce may seem daunting to some Maryland residents, but it certainly is not an impossible dream. Family law issues like property division can take into account the desire for divorcing spouses to buy homes in the future. Spouses currently going through this process may wish to negotiate provisions in the divorce decree that make it easier to buy homes in the future. In the event that this wasn't taken into consideration before a divorce was finalized, however, there are still steps to take to make a new home a reality.

First, divorced individuals need to make their new loan applications as accurate and complete as possible in order to give home lenders the full picture of their financial circumstances post-divorce. Lenders will often look at how a divorce decree is structured when considering whether to loan funds for a new home. This can include taking into account any alimony or child support payments that an individual receives. It will also likely look at how a prior marital home mortgage is currently being handled.

This means that if one spouse is solely responsible for making mortgage payments on a home that is still in the names of both parties, a lender is going to want to see proof that the other person is making good on those payments. Lenders may want to obtain a year's worth of bank statements and/or canceled checks showing that the former spouse is meeting the obligation on that prior home mortgage on a timely basis. In cases where the home is now only in one of the former spouse's name, lenders will want to see proof of that as well.

For those who have not yet started the divorce process, or whose divorces are not quite finalized, it can be helpful to have the property division stage clearly address how a marital home will be handled. This family law issue is particularly important for a home mortgage that has not been paid off in full and currently has both Maryland spouses' names on it. Couples may think they won't want to buy another home any time soon, but it can be important to take steps now to protect both partners' financial futures.

Source: Fox Business, "Is Divorce Keeping You From Buying a Home?" Scott Sheldon, June 21, 2013

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