Buying A House During Divorce

Buying a House During the Divorce

It is not unusual for a party to decide to buy a house during a divorce because the divorce process is taking too long and is hindering their efforts to move on. The key things to understand in a situation where one party in a divorce decides to buy a house during the divorce, is the difference between separate property and community property in Texas.   Community property in Texas is anything you acquire from the day you get married until the day you are divorced.

In addition, in Texas there is no “legal separation”, which means just because you are separated from your spouse does not mean that the property you buy while separate will be your separate property after the divorce.  Texas is after all a community property state. In the real world, not many spouses are in a position to buy a home when their divorce is pending because of the financial constraints of divorce.

Standing Orders and Divorce

A judge will give standing orders or injunctions when a divorce is filed in Texas counties.  These orders limit the use of community funds to only legal fees, normal living expenses, or community debts. You are not allowed to use those funds to buy any other item.  If you do so, you may be found in violation of a court order and face stiff penalties. For example, violating a court order will affect how your property is split. The court may decide to award the home you bought to your spouse.  So you can buy a house during a divorce, but there is a chance that the court may give all or part of it to your spouse.

Can You Buy A House Before Divorce Is Final?

Before the divorce is final the law, you are still legally married to your spouse. This means that you have to involve your spouse when you want to buy a home.  Your spouse will automatically be included on the loan, which means both of you will have to go through a credit check. Your spouse is also expected to be present during closing by the title company.  After you buy the home, your spouse becomes part owner of the house.

Financial Considerations

Even in situations where you have substantial marital assets, buying a home may still not be a good financial decision.  You never know, the divorce may end up taking longer than you expected and bills may double. You could end up getting most of the debt and less property that property than you expected to get after the divorce. Remember that after the divorce, your spouse’s income will no longer be part of your income. Your lifestyle may have to change significantly after the divorce.   So holding off on making any major financial decisions until after the divorce, is a better strategy.

If you really want a new house, contact an experienced and resourceful attorney to review your case and give you necessary advice based on the facts of your case.