7 answers

Buy a House but Husband Doesn't Want Wife to Sign the Contract Together

I moved to USA 10 years ago and I have been married for 5 years now.

I don't know much about marriage law or real-estate in VA. many years ago, my husband divorced from his first wife who he bought a house together. after their divorce, his ex wife got half of his old house and stole his money from joining account. after that he went to back school and bought a townhouse for himself. until he met me 5 years ago and have a 3 years old daughter. This year we decided to sell his townhouse and bought a single Family house. We choose the single family house together.

HOwever, My husband doesn't want me to sign the contract for the house.
1. he doesn't want me to have any Financial responsible if he had problems with his job or something happened with him.
2. He afraid that my home-based business will make this house in trouble.
3. he afraid that my credit score will be too low for getting the loan. so he wants to get responsible to get the loan by himself (truly I don't have any debt and I paid off cc every-month. and my credit score is high).
4. He afraid that I am staying at home mom, the bank won't approve him for the high loan as he expects..
5. he doesn't want me to have trouble if he loses his job and he is unable to pay for the Mortgage.
6. he said if he wanted to divorce in the future, he doesn't want me to have trouble for paying the mortgaeg because I don't have income.

All of those reasons. I feel that he doesn't really honest with me. or he may afraid that I will steal his money and got his house. today i talked with a friend of mine. she said that is strange. she never saw any couple do that.. if couple got married . they always buy a house and sign the contract of the house together. she warned me that if I got divorced I won't get anything from my husband. I won't have any place to live. (if something happen with us).
can you tell me Pros and Cons for buying a house together if the wife is sahm and just has only small business. (direct sale). For Sahm, if you buy the house together with Husband, will have any thing affect to the Loan?

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More Answers

Hi P.,
I'm not an attorney, so this does not count as legal advice. However, through my service Brilliant Exits, LLC, I help people dealing with separation and divorce issues in metro DC. I also run programs, with professional speakers, to teach people about the process. Now that you understand my credentials, here's what I know:

- You are a very wise woman, and good mom, to be asking these questions! Sadly, many women don't and regret it later. Your husband's points may be valid, but so are your concerns. With some info and compromise, hopefully you can help each other find a solution that works for both of you.

-VA is an equitable distribution state, which basically means you are entitled to half of all assets (and debts) accrued during your marriage. It doesn't matter whether your name is on the house deed or mortgage. So you can relax (breathe deeply) on that point. However, I would tell your husband you need a copy of the deed for your own records...

- If one partner's credit score is low, sometimes the other spouse (if they have sufficient income) will take out a mortgage only in their own name to get a better interest rate or speed up the process. So that does not necessarily mean he is trying to deny you homeownership, because remember: You are entitled to half of everything accrued during the marriage by VA law.

- In terms of your homebased business being an issue, this can be resolved by incorporating your business, something you really should do anyway to protect yourself. You local Small Business Development Center can help you do this. It's actually quite easy and inexpensive and will protect your family assets.

- In case divorce (or widowhood) ever happens to you down the road, the most important thing you can do now for yourself is know exactly what your financial situation is, ie all bank accounts, credit cards, retirement funds, debts, investments, tax records etc AND keep track/copies of all of it. Should a divorce ever happen you can't split what you don't know you have, so staying on top of this now, & forever, is crucial. Plus it's easier to collect this kind of info (and make your own copies of it, kept in a safe place) when your marriage is intact.

- A couple things I'd suggest:

1) Explain to your husband that for your stake and your child's, (should he ever die) you need to be part of the homebuying process, even if your name is not on the deed or mortgage. THIS is very IMP. Also, check with an estate attorney (If money is an issue, the settlement attorney should also know this answer, and your husband will be paying the attorney settlement fees when he purchases the house) to see what will happen to you and your child re home should your husband die. Is there life insurance to keep you in your home? Do you have a will granting you the home in event of his death? Or will the state of VA get most of your family's assets?

2) After your husband purchases the house, your name can then be added to the house deed at very little cost. Explain to your husband that doing so will protect your family against future liens. In VA, if both of you are on the house deed no one will be able to place a lien against the house. However if only his name is on the deed, a lien can be placed against him on the house.

3) STAY ON TOP OF THINGS... You are very, very wise to be asking these questions. Sadly, many women don't and find themselves in desperate straights down the road. As in most things, prevention and being pro-active (which is what you are doing!!!) is brilliant.

Hope this helps. You can visit the resources section of my website, www.brilliantexits.com, and scroll through resources that may be of help. Good luck and stay smart!

S. Zarozny, Founder
Brilliant Exits, LLC

I am an attorney, who handles a lot of divorces, among other things, and I see this all the time. Ashley and Diane are absolutely right - you should be on the deed, but I wouldn't worry about the mortgage loan. It is still a part-marital property no matter how it is titled, but this way he can't sell it without your approval. I don't think you necessarily need to spend money talking to an attorney, but if you feel like you do, then feel free to contact me.

Hi - I can't speak to your husband's motives, but I think he is confused about the difference between a home loan (which would be impacted by your credit score and income) and a home deed (which wouldn't). Your name should be on the deed to the home, but your name does not need to be on the loan. This is how my husband and I structured it, except that the loan is in my name (because I work and he stays at home) and the deed is in both our names. Putting aside the divorce issue, it is important for the deed to be in both your names in case of his death. There should be a lawyer or trust agent at the closing for your home; you can ask him or her these questions in front of your husband so that there is no confusion.

You absolutely need to see an attorney and/or reputable financial planner, probably on your own, to make sure you fully understand your rights and responsibilities. The whole thing leaves me feeling unsettled, aspecially teh part where he says there is a potential for divorce. I know he has felt burned before, and I know you need to be realistic, but he shouldn't be talking about divorce!!! As far as his ex, it sounds like he had a bad lawyer if she got the checking account funds, but I am sure she was entitled to half the house as marital property!!

Of course I don't know any of this for sure, but... I believe, since you are married, you will probably have half ownership of a home you live in, regardless of how the deed is structured, even a townhouse he bought. Likewise, I think as a wife, you are financially tied to your husband, and should something happen to him, you will have to pay the mortgage anyway.

But as a matter of principle, you two are supposed to be partners. You have a right to be on the deed, you have a right to the home or home value if you divorce, and you have responsibilities to make sure the bills get paid. Being a SAHM doen't make you any less entitled or responsible for the home.

PLEASE see an attorney and planner. there may be good fiscal and estate planning reasons to do things differently than most couples, but I wouldn't trust your husband's judgment. You (and he) need expert advice. And you need to protect yourself. IF your husband is thinking about getting what he wants in a divorce, then you need to be thinking about the same thing for yourself!!

Hi P.,

I do know people who only have put the husband on the house contract. It probably just not something that is talked about. Even if the house is in your husband's name, unless you had some kind of prenup that specifically says he gets to keep his assets in a divorce everything in your name and his will be considered joint property and will be divided between the two of you. You wouldn't be left with nothing in a divorce.

I think your husband is feeling two things. One he is scared because he did get so hurt before and I think you can be understanding of that.

Second, if he is the sole bread winner then even if your name is on the financing etc the bank will really only consider his information, but you would be help responsible for payments. If you have no income then you wont help by being on the application and if something were to go wrong and he lost his job and you got forclosed on it would ruin both of your ability to get credit. It would be easier to start over again if something that bad happened if you hadn't been on the morgage and had your credit in tact to help get new housing.

I really wouldn't worry about him wanting the house alone. It may also be a guy thing where he wants to provide this for your family and prove to himself that he is back on his feet. you may never know all the reasons that he wants it this way, and he may not have the words to express how he is feeling, but I dont think this is a sign that he is planning on leaving you or anything bad like that. I just think he is trying to heal in the best way he knows how.

BUY THE HOUSE TOGETHER!!!!! I am a SAHM so obviously the bank did not look at my income when we purchased our house. My husband's name is on the loan, BOTH of our names are on the deed. I understand your husband got hurt the first time around. Tell him if he refuses to put your name on the house deed then there will forever be problems of trust between the two of you (at least that's how I would feel) A marriage is a PARTNERSHIP. He is doing his half by bringing in a salary. You are doing your half by raising your daughter. You are equal partners :)

We are refinancing right now and this is our situation; and I don't think yours is much different:
The loan and the deed of home are different documents. Your name on the deed gives you ownership to the home. Your name on the finances (mortgage) add financial responsibility to your name. Your financial status as married has some influence on the mortgage but if what you say about your finances, you would not negatively affect his loan approval status (but you would have to turn in all your financial documents to prove your assets, liabilities, current and past incomes and expenses, etc.) The advantage seems that it is less paperwork. I would confirm with a mortgage broker (but don't talk to one who earns a commission, he'll try to sell you a loan). Call a lawyer who will give you a free 1x consult (over the phone or in person) and ask what would protect you and having the home regarding the following comments by your husband: "if I lose job" "something happens to me" "mortgage doesn't get paid".
Seems to me, if you find yourself in a well-paying job three years down the road and he WANTS to stop payments on the house, you can't do anything about it except try to get your OWN loan which will be EXPENSIVE because you are on your own...and the market is up...

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