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