Can you buy a house during the period of separation from your spouse?

The short answer is, yes, you can buy a house during the period of separation from your spouse.  There may be a few hoops to jump through, however.  In North Carolina, if you are married, then both spouses may need to be present at the closing table to sign off on certain documents, even if only one spouse is on the loan.  There is a provision in the North Carolina Statutes that allows one spouse to purchase real estate without the involvement of the other spouse, assuming you qualify for the loan; however, many lenders will insist that your spouse sign the Deed of Trust absent a Free Trader Agreement, Separation and Property Settlement Agreement, or a Court Order on Equitable Distribution.  In order to avoid the additional hoops you may encounter with the lender, you will need what is called a Free Trader Agreement.

A Free Trader Agreement (FTA) is a document signed by both spouses that allows one or both spouses to buy and/or sell property.  The FTA can be very specific and limited to the purchase or sale of one specific property. The FTA can also be general, which allows either spouse to sell property in his or her separate name, or purchase property in his or her separate name, without the involvement of the other spouse.   The hardest part about executing an FTA is getting both parties to agree on the language and sign off on the document, especially if you are in the middle of an equitable distribution case.

How do I get a Free Trader Agreement?

If you’re looking to buy a house during the period of separation from your spouse, give us a call at Robison Smith Law. We can prepare a Free Trader Agreement for you.  This is typically a very simple process, so long as both parties are on the same page.


If you are ready to move forward, please contact us now.

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