Getting divorced can change almost everything about your life. You may argue about everything from child access to shared friends and how to split wedding presents. Perhaps the most complex of all, is deciding what to do with the property you share.
There are all sorts of unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances that might arise, and you may find yourself really struggling with how to approach the property sale. However, there are ways to make this painful process as straightforward as possible, focusing on putting your old home behind you so that you can focus on the future,
In this article about selling a house in a divorce, we'll work through all the most common questions you might have about the sale process. For example, we'll explore when to sell, comparing the advantages of selling before a divorce to the reasons you might want to wait until the divorce is over.
Roughly one-third of divorce proceedings end up with the former couple selling their property and taking an even share of the profit. However, another result of these legal proceedings are in progress is that you or your partner choose to stay in the former matrimonial home.
In this case, one of you buys out the other person, then takes over ownership and takes on the remaining mortgage payments as well. Alternatively, if you can't decide what should be done with the property, the case will go to court. At this point, the risk is that neither of you gets the outcome you're looking for.
A mesher order is something that you can file for if you want to have access to your property until a particular event in the future. For example, some couples set up a masher order that expires when their youngest child turns 18 and is no longer a minor. At that point, the proceeds of the house sale are split in the way the court order demands.
The courts can also opt to use something called a "Martin" order - this defers the sale of the house but allows one half of the former couple to stay in the property. This is often for life, or until remarriage.
The question of who stays in the property during separation has a highly personal and variable answer.
Traditionally, in a marriage between a man and a woman who have children, the woman would stay in the home during the separation.
Given the many different setups in modern families, who gets to stay in the home is no longer a clearcut matter. It's even possible, if the divorce is amicable, where both stay in the same home during the separation process.
Yes, you can certainly sell your house before a divorce is finalised. However, is it better to do this first, or to wait until you and your ex-partner are officially divorced?
As it turns out, there are some good reasons to go ahead and sell your property while you're still in the process of divorcing - but, there are also some serious downsides.
Let's consider the most significant pros and cons of this approach.
There are three major benefits to selling your home before divorce.
1. You and your ex-partner will have a reasonable amount of time to come to an agreement about splitting the money.
2. If you sell your property before your divorce, you immediately get a payout for this new phase of your life. It can be tough to move from sharing finances to relying solely on yourself, and this payout may help ease that burden.
3. Finally, there's the emotional benefit of leaving behind the memories attached to your old home as soon as possible. This may help you gain closure and move on.
On the other hand, while selling before divorce gives you time to come to an agreement, you have to be on speaking terms for this to work - so that benefit may not apply if you're going through a difficult divorce.
In addition, due to the unpredictability of the property market, it could be many months before you're actually able to sell your property.
Further, some people selling before divorce are influenced by the strong emotions associated with separation and make impulsive decisions that can't easily be retracted later.
So, what about the other option - selling your house after the divorce process is complete?
Once again, there are significant advantages and disadvantages here, so it pays to think carefully about your specific situation.
Here are the key pros and cons.
There are two convincing pros attached to selling your property after your divorce.
1. You get more time to think about the best thing to do with your property, which helps to give you some distance from the fluctuating emotions associated with the end of a romantic relationship. Of course, this benefit really only applies if you and your ex-partner can talk amicably and work together.
2. Since divorce isn't timed to suit the property market, you may find the point of separation just isn't the right time to get the best deal. Selling after divorce allows you to hold back for improvements in the market.
Finally, there are a couple of reasons why it may not be such a good plan to sell your home after the divorce is finalised.
1. Briefly noted above, is that there is more of a need for you to remain on good terms with your ex-partner. If you're not getting along and there is too much bad blood, selling after the divorce can just prolong arguments and pain.
2. You could end up going through a very long process - especially if one partner is now settled into a new home and isn't highly motivated to sell the old place.
In short, you and your ex-partner both retain "home rights" to your property until your divorce is official or until you reach a settlement.
These rights are in place to prevent either partner from being forced to leave the property, even if that partner isn't on the mortgage or doesn't have ownership of the property. Unless there is a court order saying otherwise, you have the right to stay in your home.
Divorce is an unexpected, unwanted complexity in life, but it doesn't have to be painful.
At Property Buyer, we're experts in helping you sell your home quickly for cash.
Call us today to find out more, with no obligation to accept any offer we make on your property.