Ask the Money Lady,
My husband and I just signed our legal separation papers, but I still live in our matrimonial home that is now up for sale.
I have two questions: I want to move out, so should I buy another home by myself? Even though I haven’t actually received it yet, does child support count as income? I do work part-time but think I need the extra income to qualify.
What do you think?
Jill XXXX (desperately seeking a new life!)
Dear Desperately Seeking a New Life!
Good for you for getting your separation agreement signed and finalized. I know this can be an enormous emotional undertaking for all involved. To answer your questions, first about the money: When you separate and apply for credit on your own, please ensure all credit cards and loans that were once joint have now been terminated or at least released from your spouse as a co-applicant. If you are walking away with a cash payout before the matrimonial home is sold, make sure your legal separation agreement indemnifies you of any joint loans or mortgages on the property. Of course, it goes without saying that if you are moving out and your husband is staying in the home that all mortgages or loans secured by the property revert to his name including legal title.
Now that you are free, do you have money for a down payment? Alimony can be taken as income but most banks to mitigate risk will only use 80% and only 50% of child support. If you have employment income to add to this, you will be highly favored by the Banks who will want to wrap themselves around you as a brand new single professional client.
Becoming divorced or widowed sets you back not only financially, but emotionally. It is easy to let your finances take a back seat to your future planning since retirement is generally viewed as a “couples” event. The reality of having to plan on your own can be challenging and often creates too much complexity at a time when it is necessary to simply bring order to one’s life and create some sense of normalcy. Sometimes it is better to wait a little before getting into a long-term financial commitment. Take your time to find your way as a new single. After everything you have been through it’s “YOU-TIME” so look after yourself! Talk to your financial advisor, do your homework and plan for your new future when you’re ready……you’ll be stronger for it!
Good Luck and Best Wishes,
Written by Christine Ibbotson, Author of “How to Retire Debt Free and Wealthy” Follow on Facebook & Instagram