Selling Your House Due to a Divorce

Selling your family home due to a divorce can be difficult. But there are many reasons why someone may want to sell their marital home. For example, some people might need the home equity in the property, while others may be tired of fighting with an ex-spouse over who should get it during a divorce. Whatever the reason, there are steps that you can take to make sure that things go smoothly and you end up getting what you deserve from the sale of your biggest asset. 

This post is going to discuss some ways that you can make the process easier for divorcing spouses by examining what happens during a divorce, who should get the house in a divorce, Maine’s community property status, what a prenup is, and how using a lawyer when buying out the other party would be ideal. So let’s get started! 

This article is for information purposes only. Be advised to seek legal advice with a law firm when it comes to matters regarding your divorce, dividing assets, and the sale of marital property. 

Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

Who gets the house in a divorce? Well, it really depends on the circumstances of the divorce. Generally, whoever’s name the home is in (unless jointly owned) is the one who gets to keep it.  But it can also depend on how long ago it was purchased, if that person paid for more of the mortgage or not, if there are rental tenants in the house, or if there’s equity in the home.

Furthermore, if someone is already living in the house and there is anything written into their lease about what would happen in a divorce agreement, this would be considered too.

So there can be several dynamics that your divorce attorney and the court will have to sort out before making a final decision on who gets the house. 

Types of Divorce Proceedings 

There are generally two types of divorce proceedings in Maine: contested and uncontested. 

An uncontested proceeding is when both parties agree to terms; this includes what happens with any marital assets (like homes). For example, if you can reach an agreement about how your home will be divided up during the divorce process, then it’s considered “uncontested.” You would go through court but not have to appear in front of a judge because you already agreed upon everything beforehand. 

The other type of divorce is called one that is “contested,” which means that at least one party disagrees with the conditions provided by the other spouse. Divorce proceedings like these require appearances before a judge or jury for them to make their decision. 

When it comes to the sale of a marital home, an uncontested proceeding is ideal because you and your spouse have already come to an agreement about what will happen. However, if there is no agreement or the court orders something different than what was agreed upon, this can lead to future conflict between former spouses. In these cases, selling the house through a real estate professional might be more difficult as animosity may exist between the parties involved. 

Marital or Separate Property

In a divorce, you need to know if the house is marital or separate property because this can affect the equitable distribution. 

  • Marital property means the property acquired by one or both spouses during the marriage. It is also property that was donated to or inherited jointly by both spouses.
  • Separate property is the property that one spouse has before they got married and property that was inherited or donated by just that one spouse.

In Maine, if the house is separate property, then it is only owned by one of you and can be used by the owner to make payments for a debt. However, if the property is considered martial, then it would be owned by both spouses and subject to division as part of the divorce agreement. 

If there is a prenup in place that usually lays out how assets are to be divided. If there isn’t a prenup, the marital property is divided by the court.

However, Maine is a community property state, which means that any assets or debts acquired during the marriage are considered jointly owned.

Community Property States in America

Maine is one of nine community property states in the U.S. Community property is defined as all assets and liabilities acquired during a marriage, with a few exceptions. In a community property state, each spouse owns an undivided 50% interest in all community property. This includes property that was acquired before the marriage, as well as after the marriage. 

In some states in America (like Maine), if you own property jointly with your spouse, then it’s considered community property. This means that any assets acquired during the marriage are divided equally between both spouses regardless of who earned them. So, if you and your spouse decide to sell the marital home during a divorce, then you would have to split the proceeds equally. 

While community property states exist in America, they are not all created equal. Some states have different rules when it comes to what is considered community property and what is not. For example, in Texas, any assets acquired before the marriage or after legal separation are not considered part of the community estate. This can be important if one spouse owned a home prior to getting married and wants to keep it after the divorce. In these cases, your divorce attorney will need to know what state you live in (or plan on moving to) so that they can help make sure that you get what’s rightfully yours after splitting up with your spouse.

Typically if there is a prenuptial agreement in place, then that will govern the division of assets. Having a prenuptial agreement can provide some clarity when it comes to asset division in the event of a divorce. However, if you do not have a prenup in place, then it will be up to the court to decide what should happen with any marital property (including real estate).

What is a Prenup?

If you’re like most people, you probably didn’t want to think about a possible divorce when you were getting married. But if you did have some inkling that things might not work out, you could’ve set up a prenuptial agreement (prenup). 

A prenup is an agreement between two parties who are about to get married that states how their assets will be divided in the event of a divorce. It can also include provisions for child custody and support and spousal support. 

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract, just like any other contract for the purchase of real estate or the sale of goods in Maine. So if you have one prepared that states how your property will be divided should you get divorced, then it’ll carry over into your divorce proceedings too.

Buying Out the Other Party

Buying out the other party is an option that is available to divorcing couples who owns a marital home. This can be an attractive option for both parties if they don’t want to go through the hassle and expense of selling the property. 

One spouse can buy out the other by giving them a lump sum payment or by agreeing to pay them a set amount each month until the mortgage is paid off. If there are any children involved, then child support payments could also be factored into this agreement.

This option usually only works if one of the spouses has enough money saved up to cover the purchase price of the home and the monthly payments that will be made to the other party. It’s also important to note that any money used to buy out the other party cannot be considered part of the divorce settlement.

Understand how much equity your spouse’s half has accumulated over time and consider any taxes (capital gains tax, property tax) that may be incurred when you buy out your partner in a divorce, as well as the amount of equity their half holds.

If the spouse receiving the house is also getting alimony, this could be a way to ensure they’re taken care of after the divorce is finalized without taking on another mortgage payment. 

In any divorce situation, it’s important to keep the children’s needs and feelings in mind. One option you may want to consider is to co-own your home with your ex-spouse or come up with a shared custody agreement for when each of you will live at the house. Another alternative would be buying out their share of the property so they can purchase an apartment nearby instead. 

Whatever solution you decide on, make sure that both parties are happy and satisfied before signing anything legal! If all else fails, we recommend hiring a family law attorney who specializes in these types of cases to help guide you through this difficult process.

Using a Lawyer When Buying Out The Other Party

When you are buying out the other party in a divorce, it would be ideal to have a lawyer help you with all of the paperwork and negotiations that go into transferring ownership of a home. This can save time and money in the long run! Plus, if something were to happen during or after the sale, you would have someone to fall back on for legal advice.

Negotiating the Sale of a Marital Home

If both parties rather sell the home, it is important to remember that both parties need to be happy with the outcome. This can be achieved by negotiating a fair deal. There are a few things to keep in mind when negotiating the sale of a marital home: 

  • Both parties should have realistic expectations about what the home is worth.
  • The home should be appraised in order to get an accurate value.
  • The parties should agree on who will pay for the appraisal.
  • The parties should agree on how to handle repairs, declutter, cleaning, staging, lawn maintenance, and general upkeep. 
  • Determine who pays the mortgage lender and taxes until the home sale is finalized. This will help to avoid foreclosure in Maine, tax liens, and negatively affecting credit scores. 
  • Both parties will need to agree on a selling strategy, i.e., hiring a listing real estate agent, selling the house by yourself (FSBO), or selling to one of the companies that buy houses in Maine. 
  • Both parties should agree on a timeline.
  • The sale should be contingent on both parties receiving their share of the sale proceeds from the sale of the house. 
house for sale due to divorce

Quick Solutions for Selling a Home in a Divorce

Because there are so many factors involved with divorcing couples who share a marital home, sometimes having to come up with fast solutions can work better than trying to negotiate everything yourself or hiring an expensive lawyer. 

If this describes your situation, here are some quick ideas on what options may exist out there for selling a house during a divorce:

Sell to a local home buyer or real estate investor. Selling to one of the companies that buy houses in Maine will be the quickest way to sell a home. Cash home buyers in Brunswick will purchase your home as-is, meaning you do not have to make any repairs or declutter. They usually can make you a cash offer within 24-hours and can close quickly. No realtor commissions and no repairs make this option one of the cheapest ways to sell a house

Hire a listing real estate agent. This option may help you to get the most money for your home, but it will take longer to sell. Realtor fees typically cost 5-6% of the final sale price. 

FSBO your home. This option may be less expensive to sell your home without an agent, but you will likely receive less money for your home. You’ll also be in charge of all the aspects of selling your home; figuring out a listing strategy, marketing, repairs, coming up with the market value for your home, and more. 

Quick Home Sale Tips 

– Keep the home neat, decluttered, and clean at all times. Make sure repairs have been completed on time as well.

– Consider adding home sale incentives to attract potential buyers. 

– Before listing the home for sale, ensure you stage your home like a professional with furniture appropriate for potential buyers viewing needs (i.e., small children). Also, make sure to put personal belongings and photos in storage if possible. 

-If your home needs a lot of work, consider selling your home as-is in Maine instead. This will save you both time and money. 

Final Takeaways

Selling a marital home can be challenging due to the emotional and financial stakes involved. The process is also complicated by the need for both spouses to agree on their decisions to avoid future legal issues, which may arise if they do not agree. 

We recommend seeking legal advice when settling this type of property division matter because 

it will have long-term ramifications that go beyond just what happens with your house sale. 

Once everything is settled, it will be important to work with a real estate professional that understands your situation and timeline. 

For many couples going through a divorce, working with a “Buy my house Portland” home buyer provides a simpler way to quickly sell your property while allowing both parties to move on.

If you’re going through a divorce and have a house that you need to sell, call us at 781-88-OFFER or visit our website today to find out more about how selling to Ocean City Development works!

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