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Why it's best to buy a home after your divorce is final

If you're thinking about buying a new home and you're also going through a divorce--perhaps the two are very closely related--it is often best to buy the house after you finalize the paperwork. You don't have to, and there are ways to buy during the divorce, but there is one big reason why you should wait: Your ex may try to claim partial ownership of your new home.

The issue here is that your money belongs to both of you, and it needs to be split up. If you take some of that money and buy the house outright or put a down payment on the mortgage, you're using money that wasn't fully yours. You're also acquiring an asset that your spouse may feel is partially his or hers, as you technically own it while the two of you are married.

Again, there are ways to get around this. You could have some written agreement with your spouse showing that the home is yours alone. You could rush to finalize the property division process so that you have your own money to use. Divorce can take time, and you can't always put your life on hold. If you do want to buy, make sure you looking to all of the legal steps to take in Massachusetts to protect yourself.

However, the very best option in most cases is to put your purchase on hold. Rent an apartment on a month-to-month basis and live that way for a few months, until the divorce is over. Then, with your finances straightened out, consider making your purchase.

Source: Examiner, "Should you buy a house before the divorce is final?," Patricia Barrett, accessed May 19, 2016

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