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Your Guide to Selling a House During a Divorce

Going through a divorce is difficult, especially when a shared home is involved.  

Deciding whether to sell the marital home or if one spouse keeps it can be complicated, with financial, legal, and emotional factors to consider during an already stressful time. 

This guide covers key considerations around selling your house during the divorce so you can make the best decision for your situation.

Skip ahead: Get your cash offer in as little as 24 hours. 

Who usually gets the house in a divorce?

There’s no standard rule dictating who gets the house in a divorce. 

How the marital home is divided depends on several factors, including: 

  • Community property laws
  • Length of the marriage
  • Child custody arrangements
  • Finances 

In community property states, there may be a mandate to split assets 50/50

Legal aspects of selling a house in divorce

Laws and typical rulings will vary depending on your state. Below are some common scenarios that many ex-couples experience during divorce and property division.

  • Short-term marriages of less than 10 years may warrant judges ruling differently than longer unions. 
  • If one spouse is granted primary physical custody of the children, keeping the family home could enable more stability amidst major life changes in the eyes of the court. 
  • Judges consider who can realistically afford the mortgage and expenses associated with maintaining the home. If only one ex-spouse has the financial means to keep the property, courts often rule in their favor. 
  • Homeownership before marriage can also give someone an advantage in keeping the house after divorce.

While laws are complex and vary by state, judges aim to divide marital property equitably during settlement proceedings. 

Unless compelling circumstances exist for granting one spouse sole ownership of the home, selling the house and splitting proceeds is often viewed as the most reasonable resolution. This allows both individuals to make a fresh start post-divorce.

How to sell a home during a divorce

If you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse decide jointly that selling your marital home is the best path forward, you have a few options on how to approach the sale. 

One option is selling your home quickly for cash to a direct buyer. This allows you to complete the sale and split proceeds faster so both parties can make a fresh start.

Consult your divorce lawyers first regarding property division statutes and asset split agreements mandated by law. 

But if you share the goal of swiftly moving through the divorce while equitably dividing value, consider this cash sale alternative over the traditional listing process. 

This streamlined approach avoids having to agree on an agent with your ex, waiting for the listing to be marketed and the house to be shown, and possibly lengthy negotiations. 

Divorce property valuation

Get the house appraised by licensed professionals to establish fair pricing for any sale method. 

Inspecting the home together also allows both individuals to see and agree on the property’s current condition. 

Communication during divorce house sale

During a trying time emotionally, minimizing opportunities for further disputes makes progress easier. 

Approach necessary transactions pragmatically and transparently to set the tone for an equitable overall divorce settlement.

Can court interventions delay the home sale?

For divorcing couples disputing property division, the court may hinder home sales in several ways. 

In contested proceedings where ownership percentages or total value are unsettled, judges can freeze assets temporarily. This stops sales until these disputes are resolved.

The court will oversee the funds from the sale until everything is settled. 

The lawyer of your former spouse might also use a legal tool called a lis pendens. This formal notice stops the transfer or sale of the property in question until the divorce is finalized. It’s often used during divorce proceedings. 

Managing the emotional impact of selling a house during divorce

Besides weighing the financial impacts of selling a house mid-divorce, also reflect personally:

  • Can I handle revisiting happy memories at the marital home?
  • Will a new residence empower my fresh start post-divorce?
  • If kids are involved, how will losing their family home amidst our split impact them? 
  • Can I realistically afford ownership alone based on my budget? 
  • Do I feel safe selling a house together with my ex? Can I trust them to make this an easy process?

If keeping the house for yourself, scrutinize your solo income, property taxes, utilities, and maintenance costs. Completely revisit your budget and take all income and expenses into account. 

Seeking counseling with a trusted professional is another way to cope with this difficult transition. 

Selling a house during divorce—FAQs

Can my spouse make me sell our home against my wishes? What if I want to keep the house?

While you cannot fully prevent a sale against your wishes, you can dispute the terms—perhaps arguing to buy out your ex’s equity portion so you keep the home. 

Judges decide based on criteria like financial capability, custody, and legal ownership stakes.

What happens if my spouse damages the house maliciously before the sale closes?

You have legal recourse, including temporary restraining orders preventing access and compelling them to pay for repairs. This must also be factored into property division.

Can our real estate agent market our divorce reasons to generate buyer sympathy?

While creative marketing angles can help sell some homes faster, capitalizing on your drama is usually considered unethical and in poor taste. Focus messaging on the house’s assets instead.

Does the court have to approve our house selling price as fair if we agree?

No, unless the judge has imposed specific restrictions on the sale process. 

As long as you and your ex establish a price aligned with appraisal value, the agreed-upon price gets approved automatically without court oversight in most states.

Get a fast all-cash offer on your home today

Real Estate Bidders streamlines selling your home for cash fast, helping remove the stresses of the typical sales process. 

Our network of interested investors makes all-cash offers after an initial evaluation, with many sales finalizing in as little as three weeks. 

If going through a divorce, consider streamlining the process of selling your home by getting a no-obligation cash offer. 

Access your quote in as little as  24 hours and start the process quickly so that you can begin to rebuild. 

Start here to get your easy, no-obligation cash offer.