Dealing with the division of property is a major factor in any divorce case. In particular, deciding what should be done with a family home can present many different challenges, legally speaking. One thing that makes selling a home very difficult in a divorce setting is that each state has drastically different laws when it comes to property and divorce.
In your case, you should first determine whether your state follows community property laws or not. If so, your marital home may be subject to a 50-50 distribution between you and the other party. However, this only applies to property acquired during the marriage. You may need to obtain a judgment order to determine the value of the home, and to determine how it should be split, if at all.
Issues to Consider When Selling a Home in Divorce
As mentioned, one of the main issues to consider when selling a home in a divorce context is the “characterization” of the property. This refers to whether the property is owned jointly as a married couple under community property laws, or whether only one spouse owns it separately (for example, the house was given only to one spouse before marriage).
Again, if the house is characterized as community or marital property, the proceeds from the sale will be split evenly between the parties.
Some other issues to consider when selling a home in a divorce can include:
- Whether there are any outstanding debts associated with the home, such as mortgage debt, property taxes, or repairs to be done
- Whether there have been any significant property improvements done by one spouse; these may be considered separate property depending on the reasons for the improvement
- Whether there are any disputes or ambiguities regarding the listed price of the home
- Whether you suspect that the other party has concealed any other property items or assets
Finally, another important factor to consider is whether the couple has had any children, and whether the children might be affected by a sale of the home. In some cases, selling the home might not be an option if it is not in the best interests of the children to do so (for example, if a child has unique needs and relocating would be difficult for them).
Do I Need a Lawyer?
Selling a home in connection with a divorce can often be demanding. You may wish to consult with a qualified divorce lawyer if you’re considering divorce and a home sale might be involved. Your attorney can help identify any aspects that might be of concern when selling the home. Also, if you have questions about property distribution in general, your attorney can help with these as well.