The process of selling your home during a divorce is often a difficult one, especially if the separation is not amicable. While many things affect the sale and division of properties in a divorce, the home might be the more contentious. After all, both will need to have a different living situation now that you are separating. And how about the kids? Who will be with them there if they want to stay in the house? The parent who gets to be with the kids in the marital home will technically “own” the house, right?
The degree of difficulty of dividing assets in a divorce varies by state. If the home is bought while you are married, it will be considered conjugal property. It must be divided 50/50. If another partner owned it before you got married, then that spouse might have more right to keep the house, especially if it was an inheritance from his/her side of the family.
On the other hand, that will depend on a prenuptial agreement in place. Other factors affect the division of the assets. For example, some states will allow the spouse with the higher salary and more “contribution” into the property to keep the house. In most cases, however, this will be hard to prove.
Talk to a Lawyer
First thing’s first. Hire reputable and experienced divorce lawyers. This same lawyer will guide you through the process of legally nullifying your marriage and dividing the assets and liabilities in your name. You will at least have an idea of where you stand in terms of keeping these properties or dividing their sale proceeds. This will affect your decision of selling these assets or keeping them and paying off the portion that belongs to your ex.
Hire an Agent
This is also one of the first things you need to do. Hire a real estate agent who can represent you in the market. It is important that you can trust the agent because he/she will negotiate on your behalf. They must have your best interest at heart. The agent will get your home listed in local real estate sites and publications and provide you with updates and valuation.
Settle It Amicably
If you and your ex are still on speaking terms, why not talk about it amicably? Who gets the house depends on whether you have kids or not. After all, if you have kids, you can ask them if they want to stay in the marital home or move to another house with no memories of the divorce. Some kids will prefer to stay in the marital home because of childhood memories, while others will want to leave because of the bad taste left by the divorce.
Talking with your ex always helps because it allows you to arrive at the best possible solution to your predicament. If you are still friends, then maybe you can settle this matter without going to court or needing lawyers’ help. But if the divorce has made you both argumentative, let the lawyers settle this problem.
Get the Home Ready
If you have decided to sell the home, better get it ready. Don’t wait for it to get sold before you pack away your things. Putting it in the market means you’re willing to move anytime. That’s not up for a debate. That means it’s time to look also for a new home or apartment. If you have kids, you need to consider their school and friends before uprooting them from their childhood home.
At the same time, you have to decide if you’re going to sell the house as is or improve some of its parts for better opportunities. If you put it in the market in a poor state, know that you’re not going to be able to sell it for the price that you want. If you improve it, you’ll have to pay for that improvement. Who’s going to pay and receive the amount back is another problem in the making. Think twice before you decide to renovate or remodel the home.
The process of divorce is painful enough, but going through your possessions to divide it can be more painful for some. What more if you divide your assets, especially your marital home? The priority should be to work with your ex on the division of assets and the settlement of liabilities. This is what’s good for the whole family. But if that is not possible, the next best thing is to work through qualified, competent, and experienced lawyers.