Getting a Mortgage After Divorce – Is it Impossible?

A divorce almost always results in a change in housing for one or both spouses. As if qualifying for a new mortgage isn’t hard enough, unfortunately, getting a mortgage after a divorce can be further complicated by several factors related to the dissolution. During a divorce proceeding, family lawyers frequently answer the question:

“How do I get a mortgage after a divorce?”

Mortgage lenders look at your overall debt-to-income ratio to see what you quality for. Thus, it is important to keep in mind that the following liabilities will be considered as part of your ability to qualify for a mortgage:

  • Child and Spousal Support Obligations:
    Lenders will look for any undisclosed financial obligations such as the payment of child support or spousal support pursuant to the divorce decree. These financial obligations will, unfortunately, reduce your ability to qualify for a mortgage because they are looked at as debts, which reduce your income.
  • Credit card debt, student loans, and automobile loans: These liabilities will also be considered as part of your ability to qualify for a mortgage unless you are able to prove that your ex-spouse is responsible for the credit obligation by showing twelve months of canceled checks or bank statements.

Although getting a mortgage after divorce can be complicated by the above factors, with some extra planning, discipline and awareness, it surely is not impossible. Here are some tips to help make it easier to get a mortgage after divorce:

  • Disclose receipt of child support and/or spousal support: The income received as child support and/or spousal support pursuant to your divorce decree can be used to help you qualify for a mortgage.
  • Carefully review your credit report: Make sure the accounts on your credit report belong to you only, not jointly with your ex-spouse. This can be quite a process and time some time to sort through but it is worth it because, for instance, if your ex-spouse pays a debt (pursuant to the divorce decree) late that is on your credit report, it will negatively affect your credit score and make it harder to qualify for a mortgage.
  • Provide evidence that ex-spouse is responsible for current mortgage: You can improve your ability to qualify for a new mortgage if you own a house and are currently on a mortgage with your ex-spouse but the divorce decree awards the home to your ex-spouse and he/she is willing to provide evidence that they make the mortgage payments on the home.

Please contact us if you are considering a divorce from your spouse, a legal separation or would like to learn more about how a divorce might affect your ability to get a mortgage following the divorce. Nancy J. Bickford is the only attorney in San Diego County representing clients in divorces, who is a Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) and who is actively licensed as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Don’t settle for less when determining your rights. Call 858-793-8884 in Del Mar, Carmel Valley, North County or San Diego.

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