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Buying a New Home After a Divorce in North Carolina

Buying a new home after a divorce can be a positive step, as it allows you to truly start fresh with a new environment. This new environment will be free from any negative memories you have from your prior marriage, and it represents a step toward independence and freedom. With all that said, buying a new home in North Carolina after a divorce is not always easy. There are many factors that you may need to consider as you ensure long-term financial stability with this new real estate investment.

When You Will Need to Buy a New Home After a Divorce

Spouses may need to purchase a new home if they have been forced to liquidate the family home as part of the court-mandated equitable distribution process. For example, a judge may order spouses to sell their shared home and split the proceeds. This often occurs when neither spouse is willing to compromise, and they both refuse to give up their share of the home’s value. Assuming the home was purchased during the marriage with marital assets, the cash proceeds should be divided in a roughly equal manner.

A spouse may also need to purchase a new home if they have agreed to let the other spouse keep the family home. This other spouse may have provided their ex with assets worth 50% of the family home as part of the separation agreement. In other words, they “bought their ex out.” On the other hand, a spouse may have no real claim to the home’s value. This occurs when the home was purchased before the marriage and when there are no commingled assets in the property.

When Buying a New Home is Inadvisable

There are certain situations in which purchasing a new home after a divorce is inadvisable. The obvious example is when a spouse cannot actually afford to enter the real estate market. Spouses must make their calculations carefully and determine what they can realistically afford. These calculations should include not only mortgage payments and down payments but also insurance, repairs, utilities, and various other costs of home ownership. It is worth noting that inflation has pushed all of these costs up within the past few years.

Spouses often find themselves in this situation if they leave a marriage with relatively few assets. This may be due to a prenuptial agreement or perhaps a situation in which most of the assets were purchased prior to the marriage. Even if a spouse walks away with a lump-sum cash payment, they must consider their long-term ability to earn an income. Even millions of dollars can vanish within a few short years, especially when you consider ever-increasing rates of inflation. Spouses with poor prospects for reliable, long-term income may want to think twice before purchasing a new home.

Child Custody Considerations

One of the most overlooked aspects of purchasing a new home is the implications for child custody. Simply put, distance matters. If you purchase a new home that is a considerable distance from the old family home (or wherever the other parent resides), this could limit your custody rights to a certain extent. According to Georgia family courts, one of the factors that affect a child’s best interests is the distance between family homes. The logic is that if two parents’ houses are too far apart, this puts unreasonable amounts of stress on the child. To ensure that your new home does not affect your child custody situation, consider purchasing property near your ex. While there are no official rules on this matter, a drive of more than 40 minutes between properties could cause issues.

Improve Your Credit Rating

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to purchase a new home after a divorce is often out of your hands. This is because lenders, banks, and credit agencies can deny you the ability to make this purchase. If your credit score is too low or you have limited income history, you may be denied a mortgage. While this can be frustrating, spouses should remember that lenders are actually protecting buyers in this situation by preventing them from taking on more debt than they can actually handle. A denied mortgage is not the end of the world, and you simply need to spend a few years improving your credit rating before making your home purchase.

Where Can I Find a Qualified, Experienced Divorce Attorney in North Carolina?

If you need to purchase a new home in North Carolina, a qualified divorce attorney can help you leave your marriage with the necessary assets to make this dream a reality. Although it might be necessary to move out of your family home after a divorce, you should have the ability to live in a stable, comfortable home after the marriage. Book your consultation today to approach the equitable distribution process in a confident, efficient manner.