How To Sell A House During Divorce?
Divorce is a reality that we hope won’t happen when we first fall in love and get married. However, it’s a sad truth that nearly 40 to 50% of first marriages in the United States end up in divorce according to the American Psychological Association. When a marriage ends, the question of how shared assets, such as real estate, will be divided arises. Is it mandatory to split all assets 50/50?
Can You Divorce Without Selling the House?
You have options when it comes to keeping a house during the divorce or selling it to split 50/50. The first step is letting your lawyers and the Court know the date you acquired the house. This important piece of information can help decide whether the house will need to be sold and the assets divided equitably, or if the house is not considered a marital property.
If the Court decides the property is a “separate property” – i.e. purchased before the marriage, gifted or inherited to you as an individual, or purchased with separate assets by you at any time – in both community and equitable distribution states, the spouse has no rights to this property. There may be some exceptions to this, such as in a case where the property was updated in a way that added to the overall value of the house. A lawyer will be able to help you decide whether a property is considered separate or a marital asset.
A court will look at several factors to decide who gets the house, including:
- The value of the property.
- The financial circumstances of each partner.
- The employability of each partner.
- Both physical and financial contributions were made to the household during the marriage.
- The age, physical and mental health of each partner should be taken into consideration.
- This refers to the duration of time during which each partner will be responsible for the care and upbringing of the children.”.
Who Gets The House in A Divorce?
During a divorce, the division of assets is governed by State law. These laws have a significant impact on how your marital assets are divided. In most states, the law of equitable distribution is followed. This means that during a divorce, a judge will divide your property in a way that the Court considers to be fair. This does not necessarily mean that the division will be equal or even, but rather it can be based on a number of factors, such as individual contributions to the household. (such as child rearing).
There are nine states with community property laws. They are: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Alaska has community property laws as well, but only if you opt in to this method. In community property states, all assets obtained during the marriage (i.e. marital property) are divided 50/50 with only a few exceptions.
You and your partner and/or the Courts might choose a few options when it comes to selling (or not selling) your marital home. These include:
One of the spouses buys out the other legal interest and keeps the home
If you are a married homeowner residing in a community property state, all the assets will be divided equally between you and your spouse, including your house. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you must sell your home. You can negotiate with your spouse in court to pay off their legal interest in the property, allowing you to retain it. To achieve this, you must be capable of being the sole person on the title within a timeframe specified by the court after the divorce decree is agreed upon.
One spouse keeps use and occupancy of the home for a specified period; typically when the youngest child turns eighteen, then the house can be sold.
In some states, the parent who has custody of the children may be allowed to live in the house until the kids turn eighteen. The court will decide whether the spouse who is living in the house needs to pay for the mortgage, bills, insurance, and other expenses. The house will belong to the spouse living in it until all the children reach the age of eighteen. Only then will the house need to be sold and the assets divided between the spouses.
Co-own the home
Divorce doesn’t have to be a battle that takes a toll on emotions and finances. Opting for co-ownership of a property can be the best solution for the family’s well-being, whether the couple decides to stay together or separate. If you have children and prefer to keep them in the same house, both you and your partner can stay on the mortgage to minimize the disruption. For instance, consider a scenario where a couple with three children decides to split up. The husband works outside the home and is the sole breadwinner, while the wife is the primary caregiver for the kids. Since she is a homemaker, she may not have sufficient funds, work experience, or resources to buy out her husband’s share in the property.
There are some benefits of this situation, including stability for the family, but it would require trust by the departing spouse that their previous partner will be able to make their payments on time. Otherwise, both partners would take a ding on their credit record.
The house is sold immediately and any equity is split up
Selling your house can sometimes be the easiest and most straightforward solution. You can put the house up for sale on the market at an agreed-upon price and split the assets either 50/50 or as the Court decides once it’s sold. However, depending on the housing market in your area, this process could take a long time. If your area’s housing market is slow, the house is in poor condition, or there are liens against the title, selling the property directly to a direct homebuyer or investor may be a faster and easier way to get the property sold, and you can move on with your life without any unnecessary delays.
Steps to Sell a Home During Divorce
1. Hire A Divorce Specialist Real Estate Agent
In order to successfully sell your house during a divorce, it’s essential to first determine the division of assets, either through legal representation or a court order. Despite the emotional turbulence of divorce, you can approach the sale of your home with confidence by relying on the expertise of seasoned real estate professionals. Our team has the experience and knowledge to guide you through the process and help you achieve your goals. Trust us to help you navigate the complexities of selling your property during a divorce.
2. Agree On Home Sale Specifics
Selling your house after a divorce can be a difficult process, but you and your partner can take control by making a confident decision on how to proceed. Consider whether you want to prioritize a quick sale to divide the assets and move on, or if it’s worth investing more time and effort to make the property market-ready for the best possible price. In case of any disagreement, don’t hesitate to seek legal assistance or involve the Court to help you reach a resolution.
If you’re considering spending money on necessary repairs and upgrades, it’s crucial to come to a clear agreement on how to split the expenses and how that investment may impact the final split of the profits. Make sure to finalize these agreements with a lawyer before investing any further funds, to ensure that you have complete protection at the end. Don’t leave anything to chance – be confident in your decisions and protect your investment.
Selling a house is a complex process that involves much more than just expenses and profits. It requires careful consideration of various factors, such as handling the property during a listing, selecting the right agent, determining the optimal price point, deciding whether to occupy or vacate the property until the sale, and taking responsibility for mortgage and bill payments. Additionally, if the house is vacant, someone must ensure that it is show-ready for daily viewings and open houses. To avoid unnecessary disputes and legal fees, it is advisable to let competent lawyers handle these matters before going to court. By doing so, you can save valuable time and ensure that profits from the sale are not eroded by legal expenses.
3. Know What to Expect in Order to Close the Sale
Once you’ve made the decision to sell your shared property, the next step is to review offers from potential buyers. In a hot housing market where multiple offers are made, you and your ex-partner need to be prepared and agree on a strategy beforehand. You may need to work with your lawyers and real estate agent to decide on the best offer for your situation. While it might involve some back and forth, it’s essential to make a joint decision on which offer to accept. Whether you prefer to choose the first offer that comes in with no contingencies or the one that will result in the most profit for both of you at close, the crucial point is to make a decision together before selling the property. Don’t hesitate to assert your confidence and work together to reach a successful outcome.
4. Divide the Proceeds
By now, you might be at the final step of selling your house, and it should be an easy one. If you had legal help or went through the courts to settle your divorce, you should already know how the money from the sale will be divided. Just remember that any outstanding debts or liens on the house must be paid by the escrow company before you receive your share of the proceeds. Once that’s done, you’ll be able to move forward with your life.
5. Sell Your House AS-IS to A Cash Buyer
If you’re facing a situation where communication with your ex-partner has become a challenge or is no longer an option, and you are ready to move forward with your life after your marriage, then it’s time to take charge. It’s understandable if the stress of the divorce is taking a toll on you and you feel that selling your shared property is the best solution for everyone involved. In that case, direct selling to a cash home buyer or investor is the confident choice that you deserve.
Investors and direct home buyers are confident in their ability to pay cash for properties, regardless of their condition or the owners’ financial and marital situation. They specialize in fast closings, allowing property owners to sell their properties quickly and avoid the delays of a traditional home sale. They are willing to purchase houses and properties as-is, meaning that they are not afraid to pay cash for them, even if they need upgrades or major repairs. Therefore, for two spouses going through a painful and expensive divorce, this might be the best option for the family. Not only can they sell the house for a fair cash amount, but they can also close quickly and without having to negotiate terms through lawyers and a shared real estate agent..
If you’re looking to sell your house during a divorce, we can help. Contact us today and we’ll provide you with a cash offer.
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