• Buy a New Home During Divorce or Separation? What to Consider

    Going through a divorce is complicated by anyone’s standards. Even if you are going through a relatively “easy” divorce by most accounts, both you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will be forced to examine every aspect of your social and financial lives as you go through the process.

    In the case of almost any divorce, the most challenging factor that the couple has to work through is that of deciding “who gets what” when it comes to their shared financial assets. And, for situations whereby the couple just cannot seem to see eye-to-eye on anything, the financial piece of the divorce puzzle can be the hardest to solve.

    If you are considering buying a new home during divorce or separation, you are right to question whether this is the best time to make such a purchase. Here are points to consider.

    Buy a New Home During Divorce or Separation?

    The most critical thing to remember when considering whether to buy a home during a divorce or separation is that – if you do not handle things properly – you could end up making a huge mistake. You could be required to sell your newly-purchased home at the end of the divorce process in order to recoup some of the money in order to pay your spouse. Of course, this would be a very costly situation, since you would almost certainly lose money in the process.

    The Risk Factors in Buying a New Home

    The risks you face in buying a new home during divorce come into play in the following situations:

    1. You buy the home before you are legally separated or divorced: If you start the purchase of a new home before official separation or divorce proceedings have gotten underway, you complicate the situation significantly and it could backfire on you.

    2. You purchase the new residence with money that belongs partly to your spouse: Make sure to buy the home with money that is very clearly only yours (but that in no way belongs to your spouse). Otherwise, you could end up having to pay back your spouse down the road – selling the new house just to get the cash.

    3. Other assets have been heavily in contention: If your divorce is of the very contentious kind with lots of back and forth and fighting between your attorneys or each other, it is likely that the purchase of a home right now is not a wise move as it is likely to get embroiled in the mess.

    4. You end up staying together: In the event that you were to later decide to call off the divorce or end your separation, the new house (whose title would be only your name) would be a constant reminder of your divorce attempt. Better to start fresh with a new home that you buy together (or to stay in your current home for now).

    What to Do

    The best thing to do in this situation is to hold off on any home purchases until your divorce is totally finalized, your separation advances into full-fledged divorce, or you decide not to get divorced but remain together. If you feel very strongly that you want to buy a home now, consult your attorney first to make sure you are going about it properly.

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  • Former RSA Boss Fronts Bid For Co-Op Arm

    Sky News understands that Andy Haste, who stepped down as the boss of RSA Insurance in 2011, is fronting an offer being assembled by Advent International, a buyout firm with a lengthy track record of investing in the financial services sector.

    Talks about the bid by Advent are at an early stage and may not result in a formal offer, according to insiders.

    Mr Haste, who now serves as deputy chairman of the Lloyd’s of London reinsurance market, is also thought to be working with Advent on its interest in Hastings, the motor insurer which is seeking to sell a stake in itself to raise funds for expansion.

    He has worked with the private equity group, which this month sold Domestic & General, a major warranty provider for household goods, in the past, including on a tentative offer for Direct Line before it was floated on the stock market last year by Royal Bank of Scotland.

    The emergence of Mr Haste’s involvement in an offer for the Co-op division comes during an important week for the mutual, which is poised to embark on a controversial financial restructuring.

    On Thursday, the group – which includes a funeral services operation, pharmacy and supermarket chains, and a large banking business – will report half-year results in which it will announce that it has written off the value of hundreds of millions of pounds of impaired commercial property loans.

    Its proposals to fill a consequent £1.5bn black hole in the balance sheet of the Co-Op Bank, which were approved by the industry regulator in June, have angered bondholders who will be forced to take a significant hit on the value of their investments.

    The Co-Op’s new chief executive, Euan Sutherland, has insisted that he will not sell any of the mutual’s other assets, including the Funeralcare arm, which has also attracted interest from buyout firms.

    His ability to resist such offers may, however, depend to a degree on the price he is able to command for the general insurance unit, with analysts’ estimates varying over its value from £250m to as much as £600m.

    The Co-Op’s life insurance operation has already been sold to Royal London for nearly £220m.

    Advent declined to comment on its interest in the Co-Op’s general insurance arm or on Mr Haste’s involvement.