Divorce is difficult for both parties involved and when it comes to deciding what to do with the marital home some serious thought needs to be put into the decision.
Do you split the home’s equity equally, have one partner buy the other out or does one partner have the right to keep the home and the other moves out?
In this article, we will go over the different situations which can occur, so you know where you stand when it comes to the family home and your divorce.
Who Keeps the Marital Home After Divorce?
In most cases of divorce, the home gets sold as it’s often difficult for one person to afford the home on their own. When the home is sold the money is then split between both parties, however, this may not be a 50/50 split as your situation will be taken into account.
For example, if you owned your home for 10 years before meeting your partner and then they were added to the mortgage they wouldn’t get 50% of the value of the home.
You should also take into account, that the length of the marriage can also have a bearing on any court decision when it comes to dividing up assets after divorce. Someone who has been married for a year would have far less of a claim to any assets compared to a marriage that has been in place for 25 years.
When it comes to your situation you should consider the above and then try to make a decision that is fair on both parties. In an ideal world If you can agree on a fair figure it is going to save you both on court and solicitor fees.
What Happens to the Marital Home if You Have Children?
Your feelings towards your spouse need to take a backseat when children are involved and you will need to make a decision that keeps the family environment as stable as possible for them.
The first option could be to sell your home, divide the money equally and buy a home each so your children can spend time with both parents equally.
The second option is for one parent to buy the other parent out. In this example, the children then get to stay in the family home. Quite often than not, it’s usually the mother who gets to stay in the family home with the children.
If an amicable decision can’t be made then the courts will need to get involved. If this is the case, you should seek legal guidance right away.
Who Pays for the Marital Home Now That you Have Separated?
If your divorce has ended in a spiteful matter there can be problems when one person decides to not pay the bills and in particular the mortgage.
To avoid any such problems you should be aware that the person named on the mortgage is liable for any payments. If both of you are named on the mortgage both parties will need to continue paying the mortgage, it doesn’t matter if one of you has moved out or how much you dislike each other.
If either party fails to pay the mortgage the home could be repossessed, rash decisions are usually made like this to be hurtful to the other person, but please have a clear head and make a decision that will benefit you both rather than the bank.
If you are currently going through a divorce and have a mortgage you should contact your mortgage lender and explain your situation, you may be able to lower your monthly payments for a while or be eligible for financial help.
In certain situations where the divorce has become messy, partners may look to increase the value on the mortgage so that payments increase causing extra financial pressure on the other person. This is why it’s important to get in touch with your mortgage provider right away to make sure this isn’t allowed to happen.
At this point, I would also suggest getting in touch with a solicitor so you can find out what rights you have when it comes to your home. If you have been forced out of your home and your partner is still living there you may be within your rights to move back in.
Selling the Marital Home
Most couples will want to sell their marital home as quickly as possible when divorcing so they can get a fresh start. Below are some tips to make this happen.
When selling your home with an estate agent unless you are living in a very desirable location you can expect your home on average to take up to 6 months to sell. Some homes can take considerably longer, so it’s worth noting that even though you are getting divorced you may be attached for a little while longer.
When getting divorced, the last thing you want on your mind is to carry out home improvement fixes, but if you want to sell your home quickly and for the best price there are some fixes you can apply to make that sale happen.
First impressions count when it comes to your home and with most home buyers taking to the internet to purchase their homes your home will need to stand out. To do this you will need to make sure that your garden and the outside of your home are clean, tidy and inviting.
Your front garden and driveway are the first things potential buyers will see and don’t take much effort to put right. Make sure to sweep your drive, pull out any weeds, cut your grass and clean your windows and doors.
Once again, I know that you are probably not in the mood to do all of this right now, neither was I when I was in your situation this time 18 months ago. But put in this effort now and you can get your fresh start much quicker.
My second tip to you would be to clear any clutter from your home, you can do this by adding more storage, throwing some of your items out or putting some of the furniture temporarily into self-storage. The more space that seems available in your home the more enticing it is going to be for potential buyers.
Finally, give your home a deep clean. It won’t cost you the world and may even give you time to collect your thoughts in this hectic period. Cleaning for me is relaxing and can give you the time to think clearly about what needs to happen next for you to get on with your life.
Other home improvements you could make at this point such as replacing the kitchen or bathroom should be avoided as you never know when you will have a legal fee slapped on you by your other half.
The above home improvements, in my opinion, are enough to sell your home. I’ve made these changes to many houses over the years and have managed to sell them all within a few months.
If your home hasn’t sold after a month or two and you are desperate for a sale I would advise you to talk to your estate agent and discuss a price decrease.
Selling via auction
This is something I wouldn’t advise doing as you face the risk of getting way below market value when selling your home. But it’s worth mentioning so you know that this could be an option available to you.
Auctions typically cost 2.5% of the sale value on the home but can incur other costs if reserves are set or the home goes unsold.
An advantage of an auction is you could get more for your home than anticipated if you have a few buyers interested in your property, but once again use this option as a last resort and know there are risks involved.
Should you sell your home before or after a divorce?
There are pros and cons of selling your marital home before and after a divorce and ultimately everyone’s situation is going to be different and because of this I will give you some tips and you can then apply it to your situation.
If you choose to sell your home before divorce you and your partner will need to be on talking terms. You can then decide how much you want to sell your home for and what split of the money you get between yourselves.
As discussed above homes can take months to sell and divorces can also take a while to finalize. This then sets you up for a fresh start roughly around the same time. A disadvantage of this is that the market isn’t predictable and holding onto your home in slow periods could drag your divorce out longer than needed.
Selling your home after divorce gives you more time to hold onto the home and wait until the real estate market is doing well. This could result in more money being made from your home.
Selling your home after divorce still requires both parties to be on speaking terms, but a disadvantage of selling after divorce is that if one of the parties still lives at the family home they may have no incentive for selling.
Divorce can sometimes get messy, especially when it comes to dividing assets. Sometimes a partner may not be fair in the requests that they make – or downright unreasonable – if you find yourself in this situation I would advise getting in touch with legal representation.
If you can be amicable and work through the above together you may have a quicker divorce and be able to move on with your life with that fresh start you deserve.
Mathew Jones is a blogger that writes for multiple websites including pinkstorage.co.uk, which helps couples store their furniture when going through a divorce. When not writing, Mathew loves to go to the gym and binge-watch the latest shows on Netflix