Buying or selling real estate is one of the most significant transactions most people will ever make in their personal lives. The process is complex and becomes even more so if you decide to sell your home while getting divorced.
Still, many people choose to sell real estate during divorces because it’s simpler than the other methods for dividing ownership. If you are preparing to sell your home while ending your marriage, you should understand the complications you face and how to keep the process on track anyway.
Why Sell Your Home During Divorce?
In Florida, married couples are subject to equitable distribution laws. These regulations require spouses to split the property they acquired during their marriage fairly should they get divorced. This usually means dividing the total value of the marital estate equally unless one spouse successfully argues that it would be unfair.
Many assets can be divided easily. For example, bank accounts and investment portfolios are usually eligible to be split in half so both spouses receive their fair share. This is not the case with real estate.
Because homes and other real property are non-fungible, they cannot be divided as quickly as liquid assets. Instead, couples must decide whether to share joint property ownership, have one spouse buy out the other’s share, or get rid of it entirely.
For many people, the last option is the simplest. If you sell your home, you do not need to worry about sharing it with an ex-spouse or trading assets you may want to keep to hold onto the property. Instead, the proceeds from selling the property are added to your liquid marital assets minus any transaction costs and the amount required to pay off the mortgage. These funds can then be divided just like any other liquid assets.
How Divorce Can Complicate Real Estate Transactions
While selling a home is the simplest way to divide the value of the real estate, the actual sale is more complicated. There are three ways you may decide to handle the process: selling it before filing for divorce, during, or after the fact.
Selling it before you file is often the simplest solution. However, both of you must be on the same page and remain amicable. It can also delay your divorce significantly since it can take months for a real estate transaction to be completed.
Selling the property during your divorce is often the least preferable solution. If the sale is delayed, so is your divorce. In addition, the stress of the legal proceedings and selling your home may compound, making the process more unpleasant than necessary.
If you decide to sell your home after you’ve filed for divorce, the best way to proceed is often to wait until after your split is finalized. In this case, you can use your divorce decree to define how the sale should be managed and how the proceeds will be divided. While it may still take time for the deal to be finalized, you will no longer be tied to your spouse. In addition, you will have the time to move out of the property and fix it up to maximize its sale value, leading to greater proceeds.
Expert Legal Counsel for Resolving Real Estate Asset Disputes During Divorce
Selling a home is an involved process, and divorce can make it more difficult. Whether you are concerned about the sale delaying the finalization of your split or want to ensure that you receive the highest sale price possible, it’s often best to use your divorce settlement to outline how you’ll sell the property. At Bergman Family Law, we are available to help. We can assist you with all aspects of asset division, from identifying the best way to address your real estate to drafting a settlement that will protect your stake in the property after it is sold. Schedule your consultation with our experienced marital dissolution attorney to learn more about how we can help you address your home in your divorce.