Should you buy a home while getting a divorce?

If you’re getting a divorce, you may need to find a new place to live, especially if you’re renting. Is this a good time to buy yourself a new house in British Columbia?

Most experts agree that what you should really do is just wait. Go through the rest of the divorce process, get all of the paperwork signed and then buy the house when you are legally separated — when you’re single again. This way, you can buy it under your own name.

The risk of doing it any other way is that you and your spouse are still married, even if you’re going through the divorce process, if nothing has yet been finalized. There is a chance that your new home could be looked at as marital property. This won’t happen in all cases — you may buy it under your own name and have your spouse sign something saying he or she is not involved — but it’s still not a wise risk to take.

Additionally, lenders may be hesitant to work with you during the divorce. They want to look at your individual financial situation. That tells them what you can really afford. A lender won’t risk giving you a loan that you suddenly can’t pay when your spouse is given half of your assets in the divorce agreement. Some lenders will bend this rule, especially if you’re clearly wealthy enough to buy the house, but most won’t.

Don’t make any costly mistakes that could lead to a property division outcome you don’t like. Take your time, wait it out when you need to and make sure you know the legal ramifications of all of your actions.

Source: Quicken Loans, “Buying a Home if You’re Legally Separated or Divorced,” Dawn Jamison, accessed July 30, 2015

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