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Issues regarding marital house may extend beyond divorce

While no two couples are the same, when it comes to ending a marriage there are certain matters that need to be addressed. The division of assets and debts is one of these matters.  While in some situations this process can be fairly straightforward, other times it can be quite complicated and the ramifications may extend beyond the official divorce decree. 

In the state of Minnesota divorcing couples can expect that their marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion. While it is of course possible that the property will be split 50/50 this is not always the case since the approach does not focus on the number of assets but rather their value. Under equitable division it is possible for one of the spouses to get the martial house while the other gets something worth the same value. While this may seem straight forward there are situations where following the divorce complications for the person who did not get the house, could arise—particularly where securing another mortgage for a new house is concerned.

One situation in which the issue could present a problem is if after the divorce is finalized, both spouses’ names are still on the mortgage. In this instance the person who did not get the house may not qualify for a mortgage because of the previous mortgage still appearing on his or her credit report. Ironically, the reason that the person’s name is still on the mortgage could be because the other spouse does not qualify to refinance.

Though in a case such as this one there is no sure way to guarantee that the person no longer responsible for the marital house will be able to secure a mortgage for a new house, there are certain steps that when taken, improve the likelihood of success. These include:

  • Keeping an eye on one’s credit scores and credit reports throughout the divorce process and after it is finalized.
  • Working with creditors to make the necessary changes to joint accounts. 
  • When possible, maintaining a communicative relationship with one’s ex-husband or ex-wife.

As is the case with virtually any legal matter, when possible, planning ahead may help to avoid this type of situation. In most cases this entails contacting a divorce lawyer sooner rather than later for their advice on what groundwork should be laid.

Source: FOX Business, “How to Divide Your House in a Divorce,” July 14, 2014

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