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Can I sell my house during a divorce? Ultimate guide 2022

Yes, you can sell a house during a divorce; this depends on both parties finding alternative accommodations and mutually agreeing to sell the property.

For many couples, their shared home is their most valuable asset and the primary financial focus of the divorce.

Although a divorce is unquestionably a stressful experience, it can only be increased by adding the sale of real estate into the equation. But for many reasons, be it emotional, financial or necessity, selling a property during a divorce is the right choice. There has never been a better time to sell with the property markets in flux.

We have designed this guide to help you decide how and if to sell

Who gets the house in a divorce?

If you purchased the property as a married couple, generally, both names will be on the house’s deed of ownership; if this is the case, you both own the property jointly.

If the house only has one party on the deed, many deciding factors exist. The most significant contributor will always be children. Whoever will be the primary carer of the children would ordinarily get to remain in the family home until the youngest child reaches 18 (or 23 if in full-time education)  

Another large part of ownership is an investment into or for the property and its upkeep. A judge will consider all factors of investments; this will ordinarily be who bought the property, who paid for any furniture, any financial gifts made at the time of purchase and any money spent on the upkeep of the home.

The most important thing to remember is that these contributing factors are only used in a contentious divorce; if both parties decide mutually to sell the property as a division of assets, a judge will invariably agree to the terms.

Division of assets Divorce

In some cases, a married couple will own multiple financial assets. This may include the family home but can also consist of any asset with pecuniary value. The assets could be a second home, vacation property, art collection or stock portfolio. A divorce can be relatively straightforward if the couple can agree on a % split and then accept what asset goes to whom. If, for some reason, you can not decide on a division or what asset goes to which party, then a judge will decide for you. 

Whatever the judge decides will be final and binding; you would be legally obligated to sell the property if ordered.

A judge’s decision on how to divide the assets is called “equitable distribution”, and the decision is often made from information submitted to the courts. This information will generally be based on who has invested and each party’s current financial situation.

How to sell the property during a divorce?

This section assumes that both parties have agreed to sell or a judge has ordered them to. 

Free property valuations

The first step of selling property is valuation; you need to know what the property is worth in today’s market. The best way to do this is with a real estate specialist; some high street agents, such as Leonard Keenan Wilson, will offer a free independent valuation.

Sale timeframes 

Once you know what the property is worth, you need to decide how quickly you want the property to be sold; the quicker the sale – the more attractive the required price. But your real estate agent will be able to talk you through all the options available.

Choosing the right estate agent

Selling a property relies on communication, which can be especially difficult during a divorce. Make sure the estate agent you choose has experience in dealing with situations that you are currently faced with.

LWK has dealt with many sensitive house sales and has extensive experience in 

managing the expectations of both spouses during a time when communication is more complicated than it once was.

Preparing the property for sale

Once you have agreed on a selling price, it’s time to prepare the property for sale; read our past articles on handy tips and tricks to improve your kerb appeal.

Property sale and equity split

Once an offer has been accepted on the property. The property is sold, and the money paid for the home will initially pay off (if any) the outstanding mortgage. The remainder will get paid to your conveyancing solicitor, and then the solicitor will ordinarily transfer the remaining balance to both parties in the % amounts agreed. 

For example, if you agreed 50/50, then the money from the sale will pay off any remaining mortgage then the remaining balance would be split equally between spouses.

Can I sell our home if my spouse disagrees?

No, if your spouse is named on the deed, or has any money invested in the home in furniture, upkeep or purchase, then you would require their consent to sell. Equally, if there are children present in the property, then the courts would typically allow the primary caregiver to remain in the property until the youngest child reaches 18 years of age or 23 if they are in full-time education.

Property ownership pre-dating marriage

In general, the courts do not like to add any more burden to the children in a divorce; often, this results in the courts granting the right of residence to the primary caregiver; this even applies when the property was purchased before the marriage.

This often means that the parent who leaves the property has to live in a lesser accommodation while still having to contribute to child support. Although this may seem very unfair, it is an unfortunate reality of Irish divorce law.

Always Seek Legal Advice 

Although this guide is intended to assist individuals considering or actively selling a house during a divorce, it is only a guide. Legal advice should always be sought from a legal expert before deciding.

Sell my Property Dublin

LWK has helped countless property owners sell their property and move into new homes on the same day. All at best possible market rate. LWK offers a comprehensive free valuation of your property regardless of intent to sell.

If you would like to speak to us here at LWK about your property, get in touch today. We are happy to help in any way we can.

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