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Dealing with home ownership issues in divorce

Divorcing couples in Texas often need to settle tricky matters of how possession of their homes should be handled. When one looks to establish independence as a homeowner from an ex, knowing what to expect when refinancing an existing mortgage for a buyout or looking to get a mortgage on a new home can be helpful.

When separating spouses reach an agreement that one will keep their home while the other will go elsewhere, the person retaining the property can relieve the other person of his or her share by setting up a refinanced mortgage loan that includes a monetary reimbursement of that person's monetary contribution toward the home's purchase. The status of the divorce process could affect a lender's evaluation of an applicant's loan eligibility. Accordingly, finalizing the buyout before a divorce process starts could be preferable for many people.

There are also factors that can complicate a divorcing person's efforts to close a transaction for a new home. A spouse looking to purchase a home for oneself before a planned separation or divorce might ask the other spouse to sign a quit claim deed to protect the property from being subject to asset division.

Finally, both parties' credit can prove detrimental to one party's house-hunting pursuits in some situations. When the person who retains the original home is prevented somehow from refinancing and removing the other person from a mortgage, that mortgage and the homeowner's ability to pay will continue to affect the person outside of the home until the situation changes. Monitoring one's own credit score while tied to an old mortgage and communicating with creditors to alter the status of joint accounts might compensate for possible difficulties arising from an ex's payment problems.

Source:, "How to Divide Your House in a Divorce", Scott Sheldon , July 09, 2014

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