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Selling the Home Amidst a Divorce

Law Offices of Peter V Lathouris LLC May 17, 2024

Selling your home amidst a divorce is more than just a transaction. The memories attached to every corner of the house can make it difficult for both partners to let go. We understand. The whirlwind of emotions you are likely to experience when considering what to do with your marital home during a divorce can be too overwhelming.  

That is why any decisions concerning homeownership, be it deciding to sell the home or who gets to keep the home, may require legal help. At the Law Offices of Peter V Lathouris LLC, we know the challenges you may face when getting a divorce. We also understand that selling a house during a divorce can be one of the most contentious issues a divorcing couple may face.

With over three decades of legal experience, our real estate law attorneys in Stamford, Connecticut, strive to help couples through this challenging time with as little stress as possible.  

Should (or Can You) Sell Your House During a Divorce?

Generally, couples can sell their property before, after, or even during a divorce. However, there is no one-size-fits-all solution on when it’s best to sell your house when ending your marriage. After all, everyone’s situation is unique. A variety of factors can impact the decision regarding when to sell your home, including housing market conditions, the financial needs of each spouse, and how amicable or hostile each party feels toward the other.  

The marital home is not like any other type of asset the couple has. With other assets, it may be easier to just sell them and divide the proceeds. When deciding what to do with the house, divorcing couples often choose one of the following three options:  

  • Buyout. As the name suggests, one spouse buys out the other spouse’s share of homeownership and continues living in the house.  

  • Sell the house. Alternatively, divorcing spouses may decide to sell the house and then split the proceeds.  

  • Co-own. A less popular option is to continue living together in the home or rent out the house (and split the rental income). This can be either a temporary or permanent solution.  

Each option has its own set of considerations and implications, which is why you may need to consult with a real estate law attorney before making a final decision. With legal counsel, you are more likely to make a decision that aligns with your unique interests and goals.  

Do You Live in a Community Property or Equitable Distribution State?

Another important thing worth considering when deciding whether you should sell the home amidst a divorce is your state’s law regarding the division of marital property. In other words, does your state follow community property or equitable distribution laws? These laws dictate how marital property should be divided and how the proceeds of a home sale would be split.  

The vast majority of states, including Connecticut, follow equitable distribution laws. This means that the divorcing couple’s assets are divided fairly but not necessarily equally. Courts consider a multitude of factors when deciding what’s “fair,” including the duration of the marriage, each spouse’s finances and earning capacity, and many others.  

In community property states, on the other hand, any assets acquired during the marriage (with a few exceptions) are divided 50/50. Understanding how the marital property is split in a divorce in your jurisdiction will help you avoid surprises when selling the home or other assets during a divorce. If the concept of equitable distribution or community property seems confusing, consider speaking with a lawyer.  

Tips On Selling the Home Amidst a Divorce

Among the myriad of decisions that need to be made when ending your marriage, selling a home can be particularly strenuous. It’s not just a financial asset but a repository of memories and dreams. Here are key tips to follow for divorcing couples looking to sell their home with as little stress as possible: 

  1. Put everything in writing. In the whirlwind of emotions that accompany a divorce, clear and open communication is usually the first casualty. When it comes to selling shared property, you need to document every agreement in writing. And this isn’t about mistrust. It’s about clarity and protection for both parties. A written agreement should cover all decisions related to the sale, such as the chosen real estate agent, listing price, and how the proceeds will be divided. Documentation can prevent misunderstandings and provide a clear reference point if memories or interpretations differ down the line. 

  1. Keep records of your communication. You need to keep a detailed record of all communications between you and your spouse throughout the entire home-selling process. This includes texts, emails, and notes from in-person discussions. These records will be used if disputes arise later regarding agreed-upon terms. Even more, maintaining a history of communication can help keep the process transparent and can go a long way in maintaining a semblance of trust between the parties.  

  1. Try mediation. Selling a home during a divorce can sometimes bring disputes to the forefront, making negotiations difficult. However, you shouldn’t wait before these disagreements escalate into full-blown conflicts. It may be a good idea to consider mediation before it’s too late. Mediators are neutral third parties skilled in helping couples reach agreements amicably and with minimum stress. They can offer creative solutions to disputes that you might not have considered. Opting for mediation can also be less expensive than settling your disagreements in court and can save both time and emotional energy. 

  1. Seek legal advice. It’s paramount to have legal guidance when selling a home amidst a divorce. A seasoned real estate law attorney can provide advice tailored to your specific situation. They can suggest the best course of action and help ensure that the sale proceeds with minimum drama. One thing to keep in mind is that legal advice is not just about protecting your interests. It’s about ensuring that the process is fair and equitable. 

Selling a home during a divorce requires a level of detachment that can be hard to muster during such an emotionally-charged period. At the Law Offices of Peter V Lathouris LLC, we understand that the decision to sell or keep the house can be a complex one, which is why we offer divorcing couples tailored solutions to their real estate and financial challenges.  

Speak With a Real Estate Law Attorney in Stamford, Connecticut

Selling a marital home amidst a divorce can make an already complicated situation even more complex. All the emotions and stress you may be feeling right now can make it challenging to make sound financial decisions and negotiate with your soon-to-be-ex-spouse effectively. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. Our real estate law attorney at the Law Offices of Peter V Lathouris LLC can provide you with quality advice and assistance in matters regarding property division during divorce. Contact our office today to get started.