Buying and Selling Homes in 2014: A More Balanced Market - Quicken Loans Zing Blog

Before setting out on your journey to purchase a new home after a separation or divorce, it’s important to save yourself some time and equip yourself with the proper information and documentation. Without the right help, legal terminology and court documents can be confusing. Longtime Quicken Loans banker Dennis Spensley and Quicken Loans underwriter Kerri Carpenter have some valuable insight for home buyers who have gone through a separation or divorce. Check it out!

If You’re Legally Separated

According to the experts, if you’re a separated home buyer, you’ll likely have to provide the lender with a final separation agreement signed by a judge. You also may need to provide a complete property settlement (if applicable). These documents will be reviewed for child support requirements, alimony requirements and property requirements.

Even though you are the prospective buyer, your spouse’s signature will likely be required on the home loan and on all related documents even if your spouse won’t occupy the new home. The good news is your spouse isn’t required to be on the title of the new home but, be sure your spouse can attend the scheduled closing to sign your paperwork.

If you’re looking to get off your old mortgage, you may be able to use a quitclaim deed (which transfers home ownership) of your existing property and removes you from the deed. Removing yourself from the deed of your existing property will improve your debt-to-income ratio, making it easier for you to qualify for your new house.

If You’re Going Through a Divorce

When you’re in the midst of divorce, getting a new home might be more challenging from a legal perspective because a home buyer is treated as a married person if no final divorce decree exists. Your spouse’s signature will likely be required on the new home loan and all related documents, even if your spouse won’t occupy the new home. Your spouse isn’t required to be on the title of the new home, but, your spouse will still have to sign your paperwork, so be sure they can attend the scheduled closing.

The divorce decree is valuable because it clearly outlines alimony and/or child support payment arrangements. Be aware that if you’ll soon be paying alimony or child support, then those debts also are factored into your debt-to-income ratio when buying a home.

If You’re Divorced

According to the experts, if you are buying a home after divorce, you must provide all pages of your final divorce decree or legal agreements. The divorce decree is critical because it may free you of responsibility for an existing mortgage. Additional documentation required may include paystubs of garnishment, copies of each child’s birth certificate, Friend of the Court letters or tax returns that show alimony payments. Be aware that if you’re currently paying alimony or child support, or you’ll soon start paying, then those debts also are factored into your debt-to-income ratio when buying a home.

For home buyers who’ve been divorced for a long time, the divorce decree is still very important because it outlines the financial terms of retirement/pension payments and military benefits if applicable. Divided  income can have big impact on your purchasing eligibility, so it’s important to present this information to your lender.

Divorce proceedings can sometimes have a negative impact on credit so if you’re a new divorcee, it may be helpful to calculate changes in your credit status ahead of time. Visit Quizzle.com for a free report and score.

Want to learn more? Find valuable info for separated and divorced home buyers at Divorce360.com. Are you in the market for a new mortgage? Contact a Home Loan Expert today!

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This Post Has 21 Comments

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  3. I purchased a home while going through a divorce. I and I alone was on the loan. I was the only one of us to live in this home. The court granted me sole ownwership of the home in my divorce decree. Now that the home is paid off, the bank file the title in my old married name and his name. I provided them with a copy of the divorce decree years ago. How can I get his name off of my deed? I have not any contact with him in the last 14 years. I would like to take out a home equity loan and do not want any problems during this process. I reside in Ohio.

    1. Hi Neka:

      You could talk to one of our home loan experts at (888) 980-6716 and see if they have any ideas. I think you may have to get legal advice here. Typically, removal from the title is handled immediately after the divorce. I’m not sure legally how this works in Ohio.

      Thanks,
      Kevin

  4. I divorced 2 years ago. My ex is self employed. He was given the house in the divorce with the requirement that he must refinance in his name only 12 months after the divorce. He has been unable to get the home refinanced. We are “tenants in common” per the divorce decree. His horrible payments are also negatively affecting my credit. Will signing a quick claim allow me to purchase a home again?

    1. Hi Val:

      Unfortunately, the only way to truly get out of responsibility for that home is to get off the loan. I would talk to the lender, explain your situation and see if there’s anything they can do to help you get out of responsibility, but until then, you have joint responsibility for the loan.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  5. 2 kids and planing to divorce. If my husband doesn’t know I own a property and doesn’t claim anything, can I purchase a home without him being involved in buying?

    1. Hi Nana:

      That depends. If you happen to live in a community property state, we would recommend completing the divorce first. The reason for this is that he may have to sign some paperwork. If it’s not a community property state, you can look into moving forward. You can check your options through Rocket Mortgage or give us a call at (888) 980-6716. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  6. I am in Canada and my soon to be ex husband is in Colorado.
    He keeps asking for the children’s birth certificates. He doesn’t need these to buy a home in the US does he? I know he is looking to buy a house with his new wife and her kids.

    1. Hi Shia:

      He may actually need them if he’s trying to prove when child support payments will stop. That affects his income whether he’s getting or making the payments.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  7. Hi,

    I am married, but for financial reasons do not want my husband on the deed. Can I legally separate from him in order to buy the home alone, and end the separation after closing? We do have a child as well and do not want to go through child support or anything like that. Just want it in my name only.

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Miranda:

      The only reason you might ever have to consider doing that is if you were in a community property state. Otherwise, you just leave him off the title. If you do live in a community property state, I might consult an attorney just to make sure you had it right. They would be able to tell you if you were doing the right things.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  8. I am separated now, but not legally yet. I am looking for my own place. Can I enter into a rent to own agreement without my spouse. We have no property, children, assessts or shared accounts.

    1. Hi Darius:

      I should say upfront that we don’t do loans on rent-to-own properties. However, it may depend on whether you live in a community property state. If you do, your wife may have to be on the agreement until you’re legally divorced. You can find a list of community property states here. Hope this helps!

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  9. I got divorced 7 years ago, out of the deed but ex couldn’t refinance, now I have a new life with new family and want to buy a home, is possible to get approved?

    I have no alimony’s or child support since we didn’t had any kids, still waiting for the ex to finally process her refinance.
    Also have good credit.

    1. Hi Andy:

      You can try to get a home based on your income, but you could still be responsible for your ex-wife’s house until such time as she can refinance. Given the complications of this scenario, it’s probably best if you talk to one of our Home Loan Experts to make sure you’re ready and in the best possible position. You can do so by filling out this form or calling 888-728-4702.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  10. Thanks so much for this informative piece! On a related note, my ex and I are currently undergoing divorce and I was thinking about using this website: http://www.thistoo.co for our separation agreements and other divorce documents. Has anyone ever used it before and can provide some insight?

  11. I do not agree with divorce policy. My husband and I did not need it when we got our house four years ago, but they need it to refinance? It does include child support, but child support is not included in our income. What makes it worse is when asked why it was needed……… we got the response not once, but twice now of ” Im not sure”. Its now day two an still no direct answer to the question. Cant really just walk away now since we had to pay “good faith” deposit on first day, an company has ran our credit multiple times. Starting to become very dissatisfied with the company and its practice- unprofessional.

    1. Hi Angel:

      I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I’m going to forward your comment to our client relations team to see if they can offer any help or advice.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

  12. I find your policy on divorce a bit excessive I was divorced in 1988 my children are 30 and 32 and there was no personal property at the time to split or owe for – yet you are willing to deny a loan based on the fact that the County of Los Angeles cannot provide these documents for 16 wks to 6 months and me ex-husband is deceased and was married 4 more times after me.

    1. We’re sorry to hear you’ve had this poor experience with us. We are currently looking into your situation and someone will be reaching out shortly to figure out what’s going on here.

      Thanks,
      Kevin Graham

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