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How a prenuptial agreement can affect a mortgage

In one post in the not too distant past, we talked a bit about the dangers of being unclear about legal terms when drafting binding documents. The lesson offered in that post was that failing to be clear on the definition of remarriage under Texas law meant an ex-husband remained on the hook for a sizable amount of spousal maintenance.

The thing is, family law issues typically involve the tight weaving of the strands of several people's lives into a single fabric. It can have long-term effects that may couples might never consider. And where an issue might be subject to a difference of opinion, issues can surface. Prenuptial agreements are the tools that aim to avoid such issues.

It can be easy to approach the crafting of a prenuptial agreement as being something that is just between the two signing parties and that involves a fixed set of assets and debts. But the truth of the matter is that the effects of a prenup can reach further. For example, if after a divorce either of the parties decides to seek a mortgage, they should expect lenders to want details of the financial provisions.

Imagine for a moment that one of you owned the home that you will share before you married. Or, maybe you bought it together as a couple ahead of the wedding. Maybe the purchase of a home came later. Here are the mortgage questions that are worth asking in the crafting of a prenuptial agreement:

  • How will mortgage payments be made?
  • Will the mortgage be in one name or two?
  • What names will be put on the house title?

There is no right or wrong answer to those questions, but they will likely differ before and after marriage or divorce, and those are issues lenders will want to be clear on.

If your prenuptial agreement includes provisions for the payment of some sort of contracted alimony in divorce, that can affect one or both of the party's efforts to buy a new home. We'll look into that issue in a future post.

Source:, "How Alimony and Prenuptial Agreements Affect Mortgages," Dawn Jamison, July 20, 2016

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