How to sell your house during a divorce

Friday Nov 11th, 2022


Selling your Home During a Divorce




One of the biggest tasks you face when separating or divorcing is the equalization of your assets.  For most people, the matrimonial home is the largest asset they share with their spouse or partner.  To most people, the realization that they must sell their home is daunting and overwhelming, and trying to split this asset may cause even more uncertainty and confusion.

Luckily, there are some steps that you can take that will make the process as seemingly smooth as possible.

What will happen to the home?

Firstly, you and your spouse/partner must decide on what will happen to the home.  Do you sell it and split the proceeds?  Does one party remain in the house while the other party buys the other party out?  Who would stay and who would go?  Does the party who is going to stay qualify for financing on their own? 

Will the party be able to carry the other expenses of the home such as property taxes and utilities?  If one party decides to buy out the other or have their share of the home transferred to the other party, you will need to retain a real estate lawyer to handle the transfer.  Will the legal fees be shared, or will one party pay for these expenses?

If you cannot decide what to do or cannot agree on what to do, enlisting the assistance of an accredited mediator who is experienced in family law can greatly help you reach a resolution.

When should we sell our home?

Selling a home may take many months, depending on real estate market fluctuations.  You may also need time to bring the home into a good state of repair which may add time to getting the home sold.

If the parties cannot agree on a realtor, a mediator can assist you with this process.  The parties should advise the realtor that they are selling due to a separation/divorce, and they should ideally choose a neutral realtor, that neither party has had any previous association with.  Steer clear of family or friends who are realtors.  Your mediator or lawyer may be able to recommend a few realtors for you both to meet with.

The home would be appraised and sold at fair market value by a qualified realtor that you both agree on, all expenses should be paid out of the equity of the home equally between the parties, and the funds remaining would be split between the parties.  A real estate lawyer can assist you with this process.

Sometimes, it may be necessary for your real estate lawyer to hold the proceeds of the sale of your home in trust, until all other matters have been agreed upon through mediation or through a court process, at which time each party would be paid out their respective share.

What price should we list the home at?

This part is often the point of disagreement between the parties themselves or the parties and the realtor.  It is not always easy to agree on this point.

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