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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.

This post will go over the considerations and steps you need to take if you’re looking to buy a home while in the process of getting divorced or after getting your divorce finalized.

How to Buy a House While Getting Divorced

It’s natural to want to buy a place of your own as soon as possible and move forward with the next phase of your life after a divorce. Buying a home while legally married but separated from your former spouse is certainly possible, but there’s some extra documentation needed and things to be aware of.

First, your lender is going to require your legal separation agreement. If you have a property settlement agreement, they’ll need that as well. This order, finalized and signed by a judge, will tell your lender who’s responsible for what in the divorce. This is important because it can have a big impact on your qualifying debt-to-income ratio (DTI).

The decisions laid out in the agreement can help or hurt you in determining how much home you can afford. If you’re responsible for the payments on any existing property you might have owned before the divorce, that’s included in your DTI. Conversely, if your spouse was awarded the property, your lender can exclude that payment from your qualifying ratios. If the property is legally awarded to your ex, you should make sure you get removed from the deed in order to end your legal responsibility for the property. You may be able to use a quitclaim deed to accomplish this.

The contents of any child support or alimony agreements are also important. If you make payments to your ex, it’s included in your monthly debt. On the other hand, if you can show you receive monthly payments that are going to continue for some time, this can help your qualifying income.

If you’re already divorced, your lender will look for the same information, but it will be from your divorce decree instead of a separation agreement.

Considerations for Buying a Home During the Divorce Process

There are a few special considerations you might want to take into account if you live in a community property state or will be re-establishing credit after your divorce.

Community Property

One thing to note if you’re considering buying a house while separated is whether you live in a community property state. If you do, your spouse may have rights to any property you buy while you’re still married unless they explicitly sign away those rights.

Also important in community property situations is DTI. If you’re getting a government-backed loan (FHA, USDA, VA), your spouse’s debts are included in your DTI. However, their credit score isn’t counted against you for qualification purposes. This also doesn’t apply to conventional loans.

Depending on the situation, it could be much easier to wait until after the divorce if it makes sense and you have concerns about the other person’s credit.

Re-Establishing Credit

Another consideration needs to be your credit. If you’ve always had joint credit card accounts with your spouse, those go away when you finalize your divorce. Your credit score can take a huge hit and it’s a bit like starting over from square one.

Therefore, whether you’ve finalized your divorce or you’re going through one, you can work to re-establish your own credit by getting a credit card or two and doing things like taking out small loans in your name only.

Another thing to keep in mind if you’re in the process of getting a divorce: they’re expensive. It can be easy to get behind on all those bills, which can impact your credit as well. It’s important to keep your financial future in mind.

During the divorce process and as you re-establish credit on your own, it’s going to be important to make sure you’re monitoring your situation and doing the right things. Our friends at QLCredit offer a free service where you can get your VantageScore® 3.0 credit score and report every 2 weeks. You’ll also receive guidance based on your personal report outlining the things you can do to improve your score.

If you’re looking for a place to start on your new solo credit journey, here’s something on rebuilding your credit. It won’t happen overnight, but it can be done.

If you think you’re ready to get started with your mortgage process, check out Rocket Mortgage® by Quicken Loans®. Also, one of our Home Loan Experts would be happy to help if you give us a call at (800) 785-4788. If you have any questions, you can leave them for us in the comments below.

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This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. My ex-husband and I have been legally divorced for four years, but back together for two. We are not married but plan to remarry. I will also graduate with my Masters degree soon and I want to know if we can buy a house while still divorced. I am also about to change jobs because I will make a much higher income with a new teaching job than the entry level job that I have had for the last two years. How will these factors reflect on being able to be approved for a mortgage. I currently have the rights to the house we owned while married. His name has remained on the mortgage and the payments have always been paid on time.

    1. Hi J:

      There are a lot of factors here and I’m ultimately going to recommend you speak with one of our Home Loan Experts at (888) 980-6716. The higher income will help, but then you also have to consider whether it’s in the same field and whether there’s a probationary period. With the divorced vs. married thing, there could be issues depending on whether you’re in a community property state and you might have to get the title work done twice after you remarry. That being said, I recommend talking to someone to go over all of these factors.

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

  9. 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?

  10. 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

  11. 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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