Pro Se Shouldn’t Mean Go It Alone When It Comes to Real Estate in a Divorce

By A.I. Adrinfo, Edited by Doug Katz – 03/20/23

Divorce can be a complex and challenging process, especially when it comes to dividing property and assets. If you are going through a divorce and plan to represent yourself (pro se) instead of hiring an attorney, it’s important to understand the financial implications of your decisions. While pro se may mean representing yourself in court without the assistance of an attorney, it doesn’t mean you should act without support. You should seek out professionals such as a mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters to help you navigate the financial aspects of your divorce. It’s important to keep in mind that while you may be trying to keep costs down by representing yourself, mistakes in your real estate decisions could end up costing you much more in the long run.

If you are like me, you are a show me person and, in the areas of real estate and divorce where most people lack expertise in one or both of these disciplines, there a number of specific reasons why a divorce specialized real estate and lending advisor brings benefits to you.

They understand the unique challenges of divorce

A mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters understands the unique challenges that come with dividing property and assets during a divorce. For example, if you fail to refinance a joint mortgage after a divorce, your credit score could be negatively affected if your ex-spouse fails to make payments on time or defaults on the loan. This could make it difficult for you to obtain credit in the future or result in higher interest rates on future loans.

Additionally, where you live impacts what you can do with the home.  You may, for example, live in a community property state where assets are subject to equitable distribution laws.  This would seemingly make division simple, but these laws can also consider factors such as each spouse’s contribution to the marriage and the duration of the marriage. Understanding the nuances of these laws and how they apply to your situation is essential in ensuring a fair division of property. If you live in a state with less defined rules, it becomes even more difficult and complex.  A mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters can help you navigate the complexities of property division, including understanding the potential tax implications of dividing certain assets. This can help ensure that you are making informed decisions that will protect your financial future.

They have experience working with divorcing couples

A mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters has experience working with divorcing couples and understands the emotional and financial challenges that come with the process. If you make a mistake during the process, such as failing to consider the tax implications of your decisions, you could end up owing the IRS money in back taxes. This could result in penalties and interest charges that could add up quickly, causing financial strain and potentially impacting your ability to maintain your mortgage payments.

Working with a transactional loan officer without experience in divorce matters often creates issues for their bedside manner.  They may not fully understand the emotional and financial complexities of your divorce, which could impact their ability to provide the support needed during this challenging time. By working with a mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters, you can ensure that you are receiving comprehensive support and guidance throughout the divorce process, and that your financial future is protected.

They can help you understand your options

If you make the wrong decision regarding your mortgage, such as choosing a mortgage with a higher interest rate than you can afford, you could end up struggling to make your monthly payments. This could lead to missed payments, late fees, and damage to your credit score, making it more difficult to obtain credit in the future.

A divorce lending professional is a unique type of mortgage professional who straddles the world of real estate, lending, personal finance, and law. They have a deep understanding of how divorce can impact your finances, your property, and your future. By leveraging their expertise, a divorce lending professional can help you understand how different options may impact your situation across these different domains. For example, they can help you understand how refinancing your home may impact your credit score, your cash flow, and your long-term financial goals. They can also explain how different property division options may impact your taxes, your retirement, and your overall financial stability. By helping you understand the full range of options and their impact, a divorce lending professional can empower you to make informed decisions that align with your goals and priorities, minimizing the risk of unintended consequences down the line.

They can help you avoid costly mistakes

Dividing property and assets during a divorce can be complicated, and making mistakes can be costly. A mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters can help you avoid common mistakes, such as failing to refinance a joint mortgage or not considering the tax implications of your decisions. If you make a mistake, such as failing to remove a spouse’s name from a mortgage, you could be held liable for any missed payments or defaults on the loan. This could result in damage to your credit score and make it more difficult for you to obtain credit in the future.

To avoid mistakes, you need the help of a lending professional that can anticipate mistakes and head them off at the pass, before they turn into costly problems down the line. For example, they may be able to identify potential issues with the divorce settlement that could impact your ability to qualify for a mortgage or secure financing for a new property. They can also help you understand the tax implications of your decisions and ensure that you are not caught off-guard by unexpected bills or penalties. By working with a divorce lending professional, you can feel confident that you have a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation and that you are making informed decisions that align with your goals and priorities. This can provide peace of mind during a challenging time and set you up for long-term financial success.

They have other skills that support the process and your best outcomes

In addition to their expertise in mortgages and divorce matters, a mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters may have other skills that can be beneficial during the divorce process. For example, they may have experience with mediation, which can help facilitate an amicable settlement between both parties. They may also have knowledge of credit repair, which can be important if one or both parties are concerned about their credit score. Additionally, they may have expertise in financial literacy, which can be helpful in ensuring that both parties have a good understanding of their financial situation and how to move forward after the divorce. By working with a mortgage professional who has a broad range of skills, you can ensure that you are receiving comprehensive support during the divorce process.

While a transactional loan officer with lending skills can certainly help with the mortgage-related aspects of a divorce, their lack of additional skills and experience in divorce matters could result in missed opportunities to resolve issues more holistically. For example, they may not have the skills needed to facilitate mediation or provide guidance on credit repair or financial literacy, which could leave one or both parties without the support they need to move forward. Additionally, without a deep understanding of the emotional and financial complexities of a divorce, they may not be able to provide the level of support needed to ensure a fair and amicable resolution. Finally, working with a loan officer who only has lending skills may result in extra costs, as you may need to hire additional professionals to address other aspects of the divorce process. By working with a mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters and has a range of skills and expertise, you can ensure that you are receiving comprehensive support throughout the divorce process, which can ultimately help you protect your financial future.

They have relationships with other real estate professionals who can assist

Trying to find the right real estate professionals to help you with your divorce can be a difficult and costly process. Without the right connections, you may end up working with professionals who are not experienced with the unique challenges of divorce, which could result in costly mistakes. Additionally, searching for the right professionals on your own can be time-consuming and add to the stress of an already challenging time. By working with a mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters, you can benefit from their established relationships with other professionals who have experience working with divorcing couples. This can help streamline the process and ensure that you are getting the right advice and support throughout your divorce proceedings.

Working with a loan officer who is not specialized in divorce matters means that you will need to find your own supporting professionals to handle other aspects of the divorce process. For example, if you need support with credit repair or financial literacy, you will need to find additional professionals to help you. This can be a challenging task, and there is a risk that the professionals you choose may not be up to par. If the credit repair specialist you choose is not experienced in divorce matters, they may not be able to provide the level of support needed to ensure that your credit is repaired and protected during the divorce process. Additionally, a mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters may have relationships with other divorce-specializing professionals such as realtors who can assist with the sale of the marital home. By working with a team of professionals who are experienced in divorce matters, you can ensure that you are receiving comprehensive support throughout the divorce process and have access to a network of professionals who can help you protect your financial future.

In conclusion, if you are representing yourself during a divorce (pro se), it’s important to work with a mortgage professional who specializes in divorce matters. They can help you understand your options, avoid costly mistakes, and make informed decisions that are in your best interest. With their help, you can navigate the financial aspects of your divorce with confidence and come out on the other side in a strong financial position.

Disclaimer: This article was created with the assistance of multiple ChatGPT AI language models and has been edited and refined by Douglas Katz. The information provided in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional or expert advice. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of ChatGPT or OpenAI. Readers are advised to do their own research and consult with relevant experts before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article.