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Can alimony payments impact your credit worthiness?

While the most important considerations for seeking alimony payments are often whether you need the extra support to sustain your lifestyle post divorce, you might also want to remember that these extra payments can play into other decisions in the future. One area where alimony payments might matter as you move past your divorce is in your ability to purchase a new home.

When you seek to qualify for a mortgage loan, banks put a lot of weight on your income versus your expense -- and alimony is a form of income. You can't just win an alimony payment in court and run out to apply for a mortgage based on that payment, though. Usually, banks want to see a consistent payment over some months before they will count that money among your income. They might also want to see proof that you can expect the payment in the future.

Banks usually require that alimony payments have been made for approximately 6 months on a continuous basis before they will include it in your income. They also might want documentation that your alimony payments will continue for at least three years. One thing many people don't realize is that alimony doesn't have to be a forever thing -- courts might order it for a temporary period to let you catch up, attend school or learn a new trade so you can better support yourself.

Obviously, whether or not you need alimony income to qualify for a mortgage will depending on your individual financial situation. Understanding that situation and how it might be impacted by a divorce is critical to success as you move forward. Always be honest with your family law professional about your situation so he or she can help you seek the best arrangement during divorce.

Source: Quicken Loans, "How Alimony and Prenuptial Agreements Affect Mortgages," Dawn Jamison, accessed Nov. 25, 2016

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