Selling your Home During a Divorce
Divorce rates hover around the 50% mark in Canada. Divorce is clearly a very traumatic and intense period for both parties. And, one of the biggest items that might be contested during a divorce is the family home.
Buying a home was likely the most significant investment you both made during those happier times. Likely, you never saw yourself as becoming a divorce statistic, but now there may be nothing you can do about it except go with the flow and deal with it.
The family home is just one of many important issues that have to be resolved during a divorce proceeding especially if you have children.
So, here are a few tips for you consider if this unfortunate situation happens to you.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
One of the biggest things that cause a divorce to spiral out of control is your emotions. If make decisions based on your emotional response then your partner is likely going to respond in kind.
The first and most important consideration of both partners should be to consider the needs of the children. So, the first thing is to establish which partner will end up being the main custodian of the children
Then you will have to consider what to do with the home and decide whether to do one of the following:
Both Partners Agree to Sell the House
You don’t have to agree to sell the house immediately. You can wait for the appropriate time and do so when it’s advantageous for both parties. It might a good idea that you both meet with an agreed upon realtor and explain the situation so you are both kept apprised of any offers. Once the home is sold, you will both hopefully walk away with some equity and can proceed with a fresh start.
You Can Sell Your Portion or Buy Out Your Spouse
Another option is that one of the partners would like to keep the home. Whether it be you or your partner, you can get the home appraised and either sell your portion of joint ownership or purchase the other partner’s portion at current market value. You might want to consult with your lender, broker or financial adviser before you take this route as it is likely that the person who is buying the home will have to reapply for a new mortgage.
Continue with Joint Ownership
If both partners agree then you can continue to maintain joint ownership for an agreed upon period or negotiate some particular clauses where selling the house outright or to one of the parties is done so for your particular needs and requirements. It also makes sense to take this approach should the real estate market end up in a slump and wait until market conditions improve.
Some Other Tips to Consider
- Just remember that if you continue to make the issue of the home a continuing source of something you are contesting then the only ones who are going to profit are the lawyers and not you. It’s best that you both strive to make a compromise so you and not the divorce lawyers will realize any profit that you make from the sale of the home.
- Most importantly, remember the needs of your children as they are too are under emotional distress during this time.
- If emotions too start to spiral out of control then you should both give serious consideration to a “cooling off” period so you can both put things back into proper perspective.
Whatever you do, don’t use your home as part of the divorce battleground because neither one of you will likely win in the end.