One consequence of separating is the need to purchase a new home. Buying a new home is exciting, represents the start of a new part of the purchaser’s life, and is often symbolic of the process of moving on and healing.
Like all things, though, you need to consider the timing of such a purchase. There are many circumstances that influence the timing of the purchase of a new home; consider these three:
1. Before an agreement is reached on the division of property. Without an agreement of how your marital property will be divided, confirmed by a signed separation agreement, your new home may be considered sharable marital property. Your spouse can have a claim on the value of its equity.
2. Before the paperwork for your separation agreement is completed. Drafting separation agreements takes time, and the paperwork will be reviewed by at least four people – you, your spouse, your lawyer, and your spouse’s lawyer. The paperwork will not be signed until everyone has accepted the wording.
3. Before you have pre-approval from the bank. Almost all lenders that I know of will require a proper, formal separation agreement prior to giving formal approval for mortgage financing. Buying a home before this takes place puts at risk your financing and interest rate.
Also at risk is your deposit – check your purchase agreement.
The good news is that there are ways to facilitate the purchase of a new home in a timely fashion. Here are three to consider:
- Be amicable to reach an agreement. The more issues in dispute, the longer it will take to reach settlement.
- Be informed about your legal rights. This will help you avoid taking unreasonable positions that will cause disagreement.
- Choose your lawyer with care. Ask the right questions – will you be charged a flat fee or an hourly rate? Will the lawyer’s court load take priority over the drafting of your separation agreement? What is the lawyer’s timeline for completing the drafting of a separation agreement?
I can assist you complete a separation agreement in a cost effective and problem solving fashion. Please call or email me to get started.