Finding a home after a divorce is a critical and immediate need, but it’s also important to find a long-term, sustainable living situation for both you and your kids moving forward.
To find the best home as a newly-single parent, you will need to take into account many things, including your financial situation, family needs, and divorce ruling. It will also be the place that you will start a new life after marriage, but it will also be where your kids will grow up. With these factors in mind, it makes it essential to find the right living situation for you after a divorce.
Divorce Issues To Address Before Finding a Home
Buying a home after a divorce is a different process from buying a home in any other sense. When it comes to finding a home either during or after a divorce, there are many considerations that should be addressed and taken into consideration as you begin your search for a new home.
Finalize The Status of Your Divorce
The first consideration is the status of your divorce. When finalizing your divorce, you’ll have more clear options, but you’ll also need to consider your situation before moving forward. If it’s not yet finalized, you’ll want to make sure you are working with lawyers, real estate agents, and lenders that have experience with similar situations. They will be able to explain your options as well as guide you through the process, which can be tricky depending on the particulars of the divorce.
You’ll also want to take into consideration whether or not you own any property, currently. If you share the home with your spouse, that can further complicate matters, especially if the divorce isn’t finalized yet. You'll need to make sure you have the appropriate down payment funds and be able to qualify for the monthly mortgage payments.
Know Your Financial Situation After Your Divorce
Once you’ve worked out that you have the right people working with you and the right situation to move forward with buying a home after a divorce, you’ll want to make sure that it makes sense financially.
You’ll want to get a good grasp on your current situation. Divorce itself can be expensive - the average fees in the United States are around $15,000 per person. You’ll need to know your credit score and work on improving it if necessary.
Generally speaking, you’ll want to make sure your income fits your budget for the new home. You’ll also need to keep in mind whether or not you have any assets that can be used to provide a down payment with the new house.
If you are getting or owe alimony, child support, or similar payments, that should certainly be factored into your home budget, maintenance costs, and upkeep of the new house.
Have a Plan For Your Marital Home
The plan on what to do with your marital home will also play into the process of successfully finding your next home. The decision of the marital home ties into both your financial situation as well as your ex-spouses.
If it makes more sense to stay in the current house if you haven’t sold it, then you may have to do that until your financial situation improves. Keeping the marital home may also make sense from a family perspective when children are involved. If you can afford the house, and staying makes sense for the children, then there may be no reason to sell it.
The alternative would be for both parties in a divorce to move out of the marital home. Selling the home financially frees up both parties to buy a home that is more conducive to their lifestyles and families. An alternative to selling the home your marital home is to rent out as a real estate investment. Finding a tenant to move in can be a good idea to make some passive income moving forward.
How a Divorce Affects The Home Search for Newly-Divorced Parents
When buying a home after a divorce, there are a few considerations, particularly when children are involved. A new home can greatly enhance your life moving forward and provide you with a sense of stability and security that can sometimes be lacking during this period. While the benefits of buying a home after a divorce are plenty, there are a few important aspects to keep in mind as it relates to your children.
A Location That’s Best For Your Children
When searching for your new home, you’ll want to consider the location. There’s a reason for the real estate agent’s favorite saying: “location, location, location.” In the case of a divorced parent, location isn’t just the value of a home, but for your children’s best interest as well. If you share custody of children, moving far away makes seeing your children more difficult or even impossible. You’ll also need to keep in mind where they go to school or the proximity of any extracurricular activities.
In addition to finding a home located close to where your ex-spouse resides, you may want to factor in where your family lives as well. Living near parents and siblings has its benefits for your children - they get to be closer to Grandparents and Aunts and Uncles. Regardless of the circumstances, you’ll want to find the best location for your children for your new start in life.
Finding a Home That is Livable For Your Children & Family
When finding your new home, remember that your place should be livable for your children when they reside with you. When you share custody, you have a responsibility to take care of your children, and that means having a home that is conducive for children to live. You’re not the only one adjusting to a divorce: your kids need to adjust to this too, and having everything they need at home will be important.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Number of bedrooms
2. Size of the bedrooms
3. An additional full bathroom
4. Proper closet space in bedrooms
5. A kitchen or dining area with enough space for a table
6. An area to study and do homework for school
7. Rooms in the home designated for play
8. Outdoor space to play games
9. Garage and basement storage for toys and outdoor equipment
Having a home with these amenities will make your home more livable for both you and your children when they stay with you.
Final Thoughts on Finding a Home As a Divorced Parent
Deciding where to live after divorce can add more stress to an already complicated situation. When buying a home as a single parent, it’s important to use good judgment about your situation after your divorce. Knowing your budget after your divorce and being realistic about what you can afford should be balanced with finding the best home for you and your children.
While divorce is about separation from your ex-spouse to start your new life, it’s also about your life as a newly-single parent. Your new home will be the place you’ll raise your kids and watch them grow over the years. That’s why choosing the right home is vital, not only for you but for your children. As much as you may feel the need to rush into a home, it’s best to take your time to find the best home for you and your kids - when you do, you will reap the benefits for years to come.
Other Helpful Home Buying Resources
Enjoy these additional articles to help with getting the financial assistance necessary to be a homeowner.
Getting assistance for a down payment - when you are buying a home, one of the things you really need to be concerned about is coming up with appropriate down payment funds. The article provides trust-worthy information when purchasing your next house. You'll find a review of some of the better financing programs, especially when you are a first-time buyer.
Tips on how to save for a down payment - having a strong desire to become a homeowner is a natural feeling. Most people strive to become part of the American dream. The thing that prevents a significant portion of the population from reaching that goal is the down payment. Homes today are more expensive than ever. Getting to the point where you have an adequate down payment and an income to support the typical mortgage is not always easy. See some advice on how you can get your down payment together quicker.
Use these resources to make excellent home-buying decisions.
About the author: The above article on navigating searching for a home during a divorce was written by Jane A. Fraier. Jane is an attorney at Fraier & Maillet, P.C. in Northborough Massachusetts. She enjoys writing on numerous topics related to family law and real estate.