Home Buying in Dallas>Question Details

Singlemom2b, Home Buyer in Austin, TX

My spouse and I are getting divorced. I need to buy a less expensive house on my own while married. Can I?

Asked by Singlemom2b, Austin, TX Fri Jun 5, 2009

Help the community by answering this question:


Thanks for the advice of so many... although we have a prenup, it seems that anything acquired during our marriage will be "ours". Also, our credit cards are all separate, w/each of us paying their own. He has excellent credit b/c he doesn't carry balances. I do sometimes but very little. As I said, I did pay off all my cards and left them open. My son is 18 and I thought about getting a place under his name and co-signing for him. Then after the dovirce, I can have that changed. My son is at university and as a single parent, he could probably qualify for grants, whereas now we don't. My fear is that my husband will use his financial leverage to make it hard for me to be independent. For example, he knows I couldn't pay my share of the mortgage here, and afford a new one, so if we place the house on the market, he could refuse offers. I only make about $73k. I want to tell him I have filed and move out the same week. I do not want things to get ugly in fornt of my 2 teenage children. My husband is not a bad person but he does not believe in divorce and WILL use his financial prowess to intimidate me. Thanks again for all your feedback. I guess I'll talk to a lawyer.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sun Jun 7, 2009
I am so sorry to hear you are going through such a difficult time. I'm in the same situation. Where to live is a question that has certainly caused me to lose a lot of sleep.

The brokers have given some excellent professional advise. I can only give the perspective from someone who's shared the experience.

My attorney told me I don't have to wait for the house to sell before getting divorced. In your case, that could give you some time to get something in your own name. Also, I was told not to buy a home until the divorce was finalized. Every bit of property owned jointly means more legal fees to separate. That money can best be spent on a new car, etc. for you.

The best bit of knowledge I've been given was to visit a Divorce Financial Planner before divorce proceedings. A DFP can show the long range consequences of decisions. My DFP said many, many women come to her after the settlement money is completely gone. That could have been avoided with good planning.

Be of good courage. It may seem dark right now, but there is a sunrise in your future. Good luck.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 6, 2009
Hello Singlemom2b,
Sorry to hear about your life changes. The one idea that I did not see in the other replies is perhaps asking a lawyer to help you write a letter that your spouse can sign that would clearly demarcate that the new house is 100% yours. I am no lawyer, but this seems like a reasonable approach to explore.

Hope this helps,
Mike Allen
Web Reference: http://www.homeprodigy.com/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 6, 2009
I would definitely consult an attorney.

One possibility might be to find a home, arrange to have the closing date the day after the divorce is final.

If you need to move prior, in some cases you can arrange an "interim occupancy agreement" in which the buyer occupies the property prior to the close of escrow, sometimes paying a rental fee.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 6, 2009
Keith Sorem, Real Estate Pro in Glendale, CA
You can.
But do you want to? Community property (property acquired during your marriage, whether you're separated or not) is normally subject to claims by the spouse. If you had some separate funds that you never commingled with your community property funds, you could use those funds to purchase outright, but getting a mortgage would revert those separate funds to community property. ( Separate funds usually come from inheritance or pre-marriage and must be maintained separately at all times. Ask you attorney. )

Worse, you can't do this in secret. Some people think they can, but first, FHA, for example, requires that the spouse's credit be pulled and considered when making a loan. Second, the ratios must work for your current home plus the new one plus all debts, unless he agrees to sell the current home. Third, because of community property considerations, the lender will require that the spouse sign the deed of trust on the new home. No, he does not need to be on the note or the deed itself but the deed of trust allows the bank to foreclose for non-payment. He must sign it.

The best plan is to wait for the decree to become final (30 days after filing the agreed final decree) and proceed on your own. He will not be required to sign anything at that point, but your credit accounts will need to have been separated. Credit accounts (you can look on your credit report) can be classifed as joint accounts. When you get divorced, those accounts are STILL joint, even if you divorce and even if you put it in the decree!
You need to get those paid off and separated into individual accounts -- make that part of the divorce process to pay them down to zero and remove one name from all the joint accounts. The creditors normally will not allow separation into individual accounts unless the balance is zero. His abuse of an old credit account can prevent you from getting a loan, because you are still on that account. Nothing like a couple of my clients' having to pay off their husband's Sears bill that is delinquent for $900.

You still have time to get everything done, but he may become suspicious if you start asking Sears (or others) to take you off the paid-off account. Yes, re-open a separate Sears (or whatever) account immediately to get the line of credit. Do NOT simply close accounts. This will hurt your credit score, which relies on a history of on-time payments on an open account. Do not open any new accounts except your joint-to-individual conversions.

Cars are the next usual problem, besides delinquent revolving cards. Many vehicles have joint title and the decree specifies who gets the vehicle but does not address the loan, which may be a joint liability. Preferably, the loan would get refinanced into a loan under only one name, whoever gets possession.
Web Reference: http://www.Mortgages-TX.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 6, 2009
This is definitely a lawyer question. The way I understand it. Any property bought while married is consider community property. Talk to your lawyer and they can tell you whether buying a new home is something you want to do.

let me know if you need help finding a place in Dallas

good luck
Web Reference: http://www.findapadfast.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Sat Jun 6, 2009
Sorry you are going through this. You need to check with your attorney because each divorce is different. Texas is a community property state and until the divorce if final what is yours is hers/his and vice versa. That would include this new house you want to buy. You might find it better to rent until all of this is behind you.

I would be glad to help you with a rental or purchase, which ever turns out to be the best for you right now.

All the best,
Mary Beth Harrison
The Harrison Group
214-365-6500 office
214-535-8377 cell
Web Reference: http://www.dallasnative.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 5, 2009
It all depends on your credit scores, debt ratio, employment history, there COULD be a snag with you still being married, however I need to know more about details.

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0 votes Thank Flag Link Fri Jun 5, 2009
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