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Attorneys Vic Hill and Brad MacDonald

Prepare residential real estate steps during and after divorce

For most people, the decision over what to do about the marital home is a key issue in divorce proceedings. The choices for divorce negotiations regarding the marital residence in Georgia boil down to selling the property and splitting the proceeds as agreed or transferring the property to one of the spouses as sole owner of the premises. The first option is easy, but the second raises logistical moves and financial restructuring needs that must be carried out.

It’s important to get the departing spouse’s name off of the deed and the mortgage. This protects the departing spouse from future liability on the property and gives the other spouse free reign to do what he or she wants to do with the property in future years. This often requires that the staying spouse get refinancing on the mortgage, or more accurately stated, that he or she obtain a new mortgage to pay off the old one and take over sole ownership.

When new financing cannot be obtained by the purchasing spouse, this becomes problematic and may require other assistance from the departing spouse. This may work if there are sufficient assets for the departing spouse to provide enough funding through division of other assets. The staying spouse can use the extra property division funds to pay off the mortgage or qualify more solidly for a new loan.

With respect to buying a new residential property after a divorce, this will largely depend on the person’s ability to show a sufficient credit rating to obtain financing for the new purchase. This will depend on the person’s history of employment, but  there should be no obstacle to obtaining an appropriate amount if there is a long history. A substantial downpayment should also be ready in most cases. Divorce in Georgia and all other jurisdictions demands attention and planning for the resolution of real estate issues long in advance in order to make the transition smooth and effective.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Are You Ready to Buy a Home After Divorce?“, Nancy Kay, May 4, 2015