Selling a House After a Divorce: The Ultimate Guide

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Selling a House After a Divorce: The Ultimate Guide
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Divorce is one of the most challenging things a person can ever go through. When you are separating from your partner, there are lots of challenges that you will be facing – and one of these is deciding what will happen with the family property (if you own one). When you are experiencing such emotional distress, this is probably the last thing you want to think about, but it is essential that you are well-informed on this area.

If you and your partner reach an agreement to sell your house, then there are a few important steps you will have to take. This includes getting the property valued; distributing the equity in the property fairly; paying for solicitors fees; and more.

In the blog below, we have provided the ultimate guide to selling your house after a divorce. Keep reading for everything you need to know.

What happens if my ex-partner doesn’t want the house to be sold?

If one person wants the property to be sold, and the other one doesn’t, then there are usually two options available to you.

Your first option is to buy your partner out of the mortgage. This means that you will own it outright, and therefore have the right to make any choice you want regarding selling the house. This also means that any profits made from a house sale will go entirely to you.

As a second option, you could sell your partner your share of the property. This means that your partner will own the house instead of you, and you will get a lump sum from your partner, therefore giving them complete ownership of the property, so they don’t have to sell it if they don’t want to.

How can I get my home valued during a divorce?

Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce, getting your property valued could be straightforward, or it could be quite challenging. For example, if your divorce has been amicable, then hopefully you and your partner can work cooperatively together – but if there is bad feeling, then this may create some hurdles.

In an ideal world, you will get your property valued by several different people/companies. For example, the valuation you receive from one estate agency may be different to another, and you should therefore seek several independent opinions (if possible) so you can come to an accurate valuation.

Sometimes, the process of valuing your property can go to court. This is not an ideal scenario for anyone, as it means that there will likely be a hearing which determines how the home valuation will be completed. If you and your partner disagree on the house’s value, then a court can order a valuation by an independent surveyor. However, if you instead agree on its worth, then this can be used as the agreed value.

When you are going through the process of having your property valued, you should also give consideration to any extra properties that you own. Examples of this might include a Buy to Let house; a holiday home; or a property owned by a family company.

Can I buy my ex-partner out of a mortgage before selling?

Yes, you can buy your ex-partner out of a mortgage before selling. If you and your former partner disagree about what should happen to the house (for example, one of you wants to sell it while the other one doesn’t) then it makes sense for one of you to buy the other out of the mortgage.

Things to consider for ex-partners when selling a house

Divorce can be a horrible thing to go through, so it’s best to try and find a fair way through it with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. How you go about selling the house is a significant part of this, as it will likely be the home of your children and will therefore hold significant emotional value to them.

If you and your ex-partner can put your differences aside, your top priority should be your children (if you have any). Ask yourselves what resolution will result in the best situation for them and will disrupt their life the least. In most cases, your children will want to continue living in the house they have grown up in, although you can speak to them about this to find out whether that’s the case or not.

Secondly, you should focus on your living arrangements (and your partner’s, if the split has been amicable and you want to ensure that they are housed and financially supported). For example, if you and your partner sell the house, then you should think about your personal living arrangements and finding a suitable place to live. Depending on who your children will be staying with permanently, you may want to continue living close-by, so that seeing them regularly is not too challenging.

What should I do with my money after selling the house?

When you receive the proceeds from the house sale, there are lots of different ways you can put your money to good use. Speaking to a financial advisor is recommended in this circumstance because, when you are going through such a major transition, they can help you to discuss all the options available.

In most instances, someone in this position will focus on taking care of their essential needs. Finding a place to live and taking care of costs associated with the divorce (and the house sale) typically take first priority.

Can I remove a name from a joint mortgage?

Yes. If you and your ex-partner had your names on a joint mortgage, then you may wish to remove their name from the mortgage altogether after a separation.

You should hopefully be able to complete this process without too much difficulty. You are able to buy your ex-partner out and transfer the mortgage into one name, providing you have the funds to do so while covering all the monthly repayments on your own in the future.

As an alternative option, you and your ex-partner may opt to keep the property in your possession, but rent it out to cover the costs. The proceeds could then go to both of you.

In some instances, there can be legal challenges associated with removing a name from a joint mortgage, especially if there are disputes between two ex-partners about the terms/methods of doing so. In this case, bringing in a legal expert can help you to reach a fair conclusion.

Should I get independent legal and financial support?

It is generally recommended that you seek independent legal and financial advice when going through a divorce and/or selling a property.

Regardless of the route you choose to take – for example, buying your ex-partner out of the mortgage, or selling the house, or trying to find a new place to live yourself – it can help to have someone qualified and experienced by your side to give you guidance.

A solicitor with experience in family law is a good start since they can help you understand your rights and obligations, ensuring that the buyout is fair to both parties. They can also assist in negotiations with your ex-partner and guarantee that the necessary legal documents are correctly drawn up.

While not everyone decides to hire a financial advisor, you may want to think about doing so. This expert can help you to understand the financial implications of a house buyout and ensure that you can afford the repayments if you are buying your partner out. They can also support you in exploring alternative options, such as remortgaging if you cannot afford the total amount.

Should a property be sold before or after divorce?

There are lots of factors which impact whether or not selling the family home will be preferable before or after a divorce. It is generally recommended that you speak to a family law solicitor who can give you guidance relevant to your specific circumstances.

When you sell the property before a divorce, it can enable both parties to get their ‘affairs in order’ more quickly. For example, you will be able to plan ahead to ensure you have sufficient funds to move onto the next chapter of your life. A quicker sale can also make a quick break easier to achieve, so both ex-partners can cut ties and move on.

Selling a house after a divorce is much easier if the ex-partners are on speaking terms and have had an amicable split. Sometimes, this is not possible, and it also occasionally cannot be avoided that the house is sold after a divorce goes through – in which case, you should seek legal advice on the best course of action. You should seek independent advice if you are at all unsure.

Can a cash house buyer help when selling a house after a divorce?

When you are selling a property after a divorce, it is common for you to want the process to be completed as quickly as possible – especially if you don’t have children and therefore don’t have to factor them into your decision-making.

Whether the divorce was amicable or not, both parties may want the house sale to be ‘out of their hair’ as quickly as possible. Making a sizeable profit, and getting the most amount of money possible, may not be a priority. In this situation, selling to a cash house buyer can be an excellent solution.

Cash house buyers like We Buy Any Home can purchase a property within 7 days of you making an enquiry – or can schedule the completion so it takes place on a date convenient for both you and your ex-partner. By avoiding the tiresome process of contacting estate agents, getting lots of different valuations, and then operating within a property chain, cash house buyers can save you lots of stress and time.

What is a ‘Financial Order’ during a divorce?

If you are going through a divorce but you and your ex-partner cannot agree how your finances should be divided, then a court can be asked to make a ‘financial order’. This is a legally binding document which outlines how finances and assets must be divided. This can give you and your ex-partner a definitive answer which cannot be contested, which can be invaluable when trying to sell a house, but keep in mind that this is a more expensive route than if you and your ex-partner reach an agreement on your own.

It is highly recommended that you get independent legal advice when you are navigating the complexities of getting a financial order. For more information about divorce and mortgages, click on the link to visit our other blog on this topic.

What is a Mesher Order?

A ‘Mesher Order’ is a court order which outlines how the family home will be dealt with after a divorce. It usually results in the sale of the property being deferred until a specific ‘triggering event’ occurs – for example, the children living in the property completing their education or reaching a certain age.

Sometimes, a person will seek a Mesher Order if they want to continue living in the family property with their children, but are unable to afford taking over the mortgage on their own. This might mean that you need your ex-partner to remain on the mortgage, because you cannot afford for it to be transferred into your sole name.

The primary aim of a Mesher Order is to give stability to the children of divorced parents, so they can continue living in their family home. It is highly recommended that you get independent legal advice when you are navigating the complexities of getting a Mesher Order.

What is a Martin Order?

In the UK, a Martin Order is a court order which gives one party the right to live in the family house for life, or until re-marriage. This type of order is used when the ex-partners have no dependent children, and when one of the two ex-partners has no immediate need for capital so they can pay for somewhere new to live.

Selling after a divorce with We Buy Any Home

If you’re struggling with selling your house after a divorce, We Buy Any Home are here to help. Take a look at our insights for selling a house after a divorce for more information (such as whether or not your ex is entitled to half your house, how to split your assets, and how to get your home valued during a divorce.)

Alternatively, get in contact with us today and we will be more than happy to talk you through the process.

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