Divorce Attorney and CDLP® Collaboration

Tami Wollensak

Why you should have one of us in your back pocket

Divorce attorneys:
Why would you want to incorporate a CDLP® into your cases before your client holds firm that they want to keep the house for emotional reasons? I have seen far too many settlement agreements strategically written so that mortgage guidelines block the client’s ability to obtain mortgage financing. An important part of my role is to carefully address the verbiage within the client’s settlement, so the client is able to obtain mortgage financing post-divorce.

What is a CDLP®?

A Certified Divorce Lending Professional is an experienced mortgage professional who specializes in working with divorcing clients. Personally, I prefer to say that I have an extensive background and knowledge of divorce, and I just happen to be able to do a mortgage for them. Just like you’re an attorney who specializes in divorce instead of bankruptcy or criminal law, we are mortgage lenders who specialize in divorce.

There are so many factors we need to take into consideration regarding the decision about the marital home. These may not be questions you’d think necessary to ask your clients. For example:

  • Does your client know if all their income sources are considered qualified income?
  • Has your client just rejoined the workforce, or have variable hours or income?
  • Is your client self-employed with a steady two-year history of tax returns filed showing enough income to qualify for the refinance?
  • Will your client be relying on a lump sum distribution of maintenance, alimony, or child support?
  • Does your client know what the payment will look like when they need to refinance the home and potentially pay out their spouse for their portion of the home equity?
  • Will there be contingent liabilities your client will be responsible for paying post-divorce?
  • What does your client’s credit history and mortgage credit scores look like, and how does that impact their ability to get mortgage financing?
  • Has your client been on title of the home for the appropriate amount of time to gain access to the amount of equity necessary to buy out their spouse?

These are just a sampling of questions that I ask my clients when working with them on a divorce mortgage plan. When consulting with divorcing homeowners, they are often unaware of what their options look like regarding the marital home. Obviously, the house itself can’t be split down the middle, so our job is to find the solutions that will lead to the best outcome for everyone involved. Divorce mortgage planning can be incorporated into the negotiations or the mediation to make sure all angles are considered for a successful conclusion. Too often, clients do not realize that in order to buy out their spouse from the marital home and relieve their spouse from the liability of the mortgage debt, a refinance of the property is necessary. They may be concerned because interest rates are higher than when they purchased the property, or they recently refinanced the home. If we don’t look at every piece of the puzzle, we are doing our divorcing homeowners a disservice. A CDLP® will provide all the necessary tools to help divorcing homeowners make a better, more informed decision about whether to keep or sell the house, and if either spouse will stay or move. It’s a lot to consider, and the answer isn’t clear unless both spouses have all the necessary information.

I’ve been so blessed with the industry professionals I’ve encountered throughout my career. It’s one of the most fulfilling and exciting parts of my business. It brings me so much joy and fulfillment when I have the honor to collaborate with attorneys and financial professionals who understand my role and allow me to offer insight and suggestions around the marital home to reach the best outcome for our mutual clients. If you still aren’t sure a CDLP could benefit you, your practice, and your clients, take it from one of my network partners, Theresa Beran Kulat:
“As a collaborative lawyer, I pride myself on putting together teams so my client and their family can build a healthy future once the divorce is over. Tami brings a wealth of knowledge and compassion to the table. Recently, I had a case where the couple had worked out all the terms of their divorce amicably. I saw an opportunity to create an even better result based on information that Tami had shared with me. We brought her into the case, and now the couple is even more satisfied. Thank you, Tami for who you are and how you help!”

Regardless of whether it’s for a traditional home financing client or a divorce mortgage planning client, my consultation services are completely complimentary, so there is no downside to incorporating me into the process. This is a win-win for both the legal team and the clients.

Divorce Mortgage Planning is a solution that can easily be incorporated into the process to help guide people during what can be a very emotional and difficult life transition. Providing all the information to reach an informed decision can give your clients the peace of mind they may be seeking regarding their housing needs.