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Take some time before buying a home post-divorce

Finding a new place to live is necessary for many newly-divorced people. Often, couples opt to sell the family home in the divorce because it's too much for one person to afford.

You may be anxious to get a new start by buying your own home. However, there are some good reasons why you're better off renting an apartment or home for a year or two.

All of the financial issues involved in your divorce won't necessarily be resolved when the settlement is signed. Even if they are, it can take some time "to get your financial wits about you," as one psychologist notes. Further, newly-divorced people are often in a fragile emotional state, so this probably isn't a good time to be making big purchases of any kind.

One of the first things you should do post-divorce, if you didn't do it during the process, is enlist the services of a financial planner to review your situation and help you map out a five-year plan. Your family law attorney can likely recommend one who has experience working with newly-divorced people.

If and when you decide to look for a new home, remember a few things:

-- Avoid real estate agents who want to rush you into making a purchase before you're ready.

-- Be sure to factor in not just the home price, but utilities, maintenance expenses and furnishings. You may qualify for a mortgage on a particular home, but then find that the entire cost of owning it is more than you can handle. This is another area where your financial planner can help you.

-- Make sure the home is in a location where you want to put down roots. If you have children, letting them stay in their school is often an important factor. So, likely, is choosing a location where they're reasonably close to their other parent. If you're going to be entering the dating scene again, you may want to choose a place where you can have a social life rather than retreating to the suburbs.

If you have children and choose to relocate to another area, be sure that you are not violating your custody agreement terms. Not abiding by the terms of your agreement could land you in court with your ex. Consult with your family law attorney before you make any decisions about leaving the area.

Source: NewsOK, "Smart Moves: Avoid hasty home-buying decisions after divorce," Ellen James Martin, April 08, 2016

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