When you are in the midst of a divorce, it is hard to begin the process of selling your home. The road in front of you can
seem long or impossible, but the key is to look at the sale of your home as a business decision and to seek advice from
knowledgeable professionals to guide you. The journey may be a little different for every couple, but these basic steps can
help you move through the process.
Decide who will remain in the home.
The first thing you have to do is decide if one of you will stay in the residence or if you will sell it and both begin with a
fresh start. For some couples with children, the idea of keeping the family home is a comfort to kids involved. When this
decision is made, your divorce attorneys can guide you to a fair and equitable solution. (Often that means that one spouse
will pay for half of the equity in order to stay in the home.) Sometimes, however, it is determined that the current home is
too much financial burden for one person, or both people involved prefer to begin with a new start at another house. When
this happens, the residence is sold and the profits typically split equitably between the couple. Occasionally, a spouse
may be awarded more than half of the home’s profits due to complex factors. Your attorneys can guide you through this
Determine the necessary timeline and find a realtor.
Each couple has their own needs in regards to when they move out of the shared home. Those with children often want to
wait until the end of the school year to move them. Other times, couples may want to wait until the divorce is final to sell
the home. Whatever the case, the couple can determine their needs and discuss the timeline with their attorneys. When
the time approaches, couples need to secure an agent who is experienced and knowledgeable about the process. Your
agent can advise you on what needs to be done within the home before you officially put the house on the market.
Stage your house to sell.
Families are sometimes selling a home when one person has already left the residence. When this is the case, it is
important that both parties contribute to the efforts required to sell it. That could mean upkeep and tasks like cleaning out
closets and making small repairs, or it may include paid services like lawn care and a cleaning service. Because the
profits will likely be split equitably, it is important that the adult who has left the residence does not ignore all
responsibilities involved. Cleaning out rooms and closets is also a welcome time to divide the contents of the home and
decide where they will go after the divorce.
Sell the home and disperse the funds.
When you get an offer, discuss it together and communicate with the realtor. It’s also wise to already have decided on a
target figure or range that you would accept so that there is less room for disagreement. When your home sells, the real
estate attorney involved will see the legal agreement you have drafted with your divorce attorneys, and funds will be
dispersed to each one of you according to the agreement. Sometimes escrow funds will be dispersed at a later date.
Those are considered part of the profit in most cases, so if the house was in only one spouse’s name, he/she will be the
one to receive the check from escrow dispersal funds, but they are to be shared among the two of you as your agreement
states. It is imperative to be transparent about the dispersal of funds and abide by your legal contract which is there to
protect the both of you.
Divorce is one of the most difficult times in a person’s life, and selling the shared family home can be emotionally draining
because we associate it with the dreams we had about a future that never came to be. But with a change of perspective,
you can use this time to dream and plan. Get excited about your life ahead and the fresh start that waits for you, whether
you are renting or buying a new home. The key is to work with a realtor who understands the pressures you are under
and can help you make good decisions, sell your home efficiently, and find your way to a new life.