Purchasing a home means a serious commitment, along with substantial financial obligations.
As a married person, there are a number of reasons you might consider purchasing a house without your spouse. Before you do so, it is important to note that Texas’ laws of marital property differ dramatically from laws of many other states.
Texas refers to any property acquired by you and your spouse during your marriage as community property. The rules surrounding community property often cause significant confusion. This can complicate the answers to questions like, Can I buy a house without my spouse in Texas? or Can I apply for a mortgage without my spouse?
If you have questions about purchasing a house during your marriage and want to know the financial ramifications, contact The Larson Law Office today.
Community Property vs. Separate Property
Texas considers the property and earnings of both spouses acquired during the marriage community property.
It does not matter who paid for the property or whose name is on the title or deed, as long as you acquired the property during your marriage and it was not a gift, inheritance, or certain kinds of personal injury settlements. Additionally, Texas considers most types of debt created and liabilities incurred during the marriage as marital debt, with some significant exceptions.
Texas considers property acquired prior to the marriage separate property. Additionally, property acquired as a gift, inheritance, or personal injury settlement is considered separate.
During a divorce in Texas, both spouses receive their own separate property. The court equitably distributes the community property between both parties. The court also equitably distributes eligible marital debt between the parties. Remember, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean the court will split the community property or marital debt right down the middle.
Property division often becomes one of the most contentious topics during divorce proceedings. Many times, these disputes revolve around whether to consider an item as community property or separate property.
How Can I Buy a House Without My Spouse in Texas?
Since Texas presumes all property acquired during the marriage is community property, the party saying otherwise bears the burden of proving that it should be considered separate. That burden is clear and convincing evidence.
If you purchase the house using separate property, such as a gift or inheritance, you could demonstrate to the court that the house, or a part of it, is separate property. You would need detailed records of where the funds you used to purchase the house came from and be able to trace the fact that they constituted separate property.
Even if you title the house in your name, the state still presumes the house is community property as long as it was acquired after the day you got married and before the day you got divorced. If you get a divorce, the court will distribute the house just like any other piece of property.
On one hand, the judge can order the sale of the house and distribute the proceeds fairly between you and your spouse. On the other hand, you could remain in the house and pay the remaining mortgage payments on your own. With this option, you’ll likely owe your spouse a lump sum payment to reimburse them for the equity built in the home during the time of the marriage..
Can a Married Person Get a Mortgage Without Their Spouse?
Most mortgage applications require information about the marital status of the applicant. However, you can technically apply for a mortgage without your spouse. This may make sense where one spouse has significantly better credit than the other. However, using two borrowers typically involves more favorable rates and a lower mortgage payment.
Having a mortgage in your name alone doesn’t prevent a divorce court from deeming the house as community property, just as titling it in your name alone doesn’t. However, it can simplify the process of property division in case of divorce.
If both your names are on the mortgage and you want to keep the home and buy out your spouse, you will likely need to refinance the home to free your spouse from the debt. If the mortgage is already in your name, you may be able to offset your spouse’s equity with other assets and keep the same mortgage. This can be particularly advantageous if your mortgage has a low-interest rate.
Can a Married Person Buy a House Alone? Contact The Larson Law Office to Learn More
Making the decision to purchase a house requires a lot of consideration. We can help ensure that you know exactly what you are getting into and that you’re protecting yourself in case of a future divorce.
At The Larson Law Office, we pride ourselves on offering realistic, thorough, and honest assessments of our clients’ circumstances. We will be there every step of the way to answer your questions and advise you on legal issues. With many years of experience, we are confident we have what it takes to help you with whatever you need.
Contact our team today for a free consultation to see how we can help.