The Ultimate Guide:​

Selling a House After a Divorce (2023)

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There’s no denying it, divorce is one of the most stressful and challenging experiences in life.

Relocating is also high on the list of life’s stressors.

When you combine the two, it can become a nightmarish scenario for anyone involved.

Fortunately, there are strategies to ease the pain and make the process more manageable.

We’ll guide you through the small but significant steps to transition from a hectic to a manageable journey of selling a home after a divorce.

Cut To The Chase

If you’re already set on selling your home for cash as fast as possible to avoid a messy divorce, click below.  

Table of Contents

1. How to sell or divide a house after a divorce?

In the unfortunate event of a divorce, a crucial decision awaits both parties: whether to sell or divide the marital home. Let’s summarize your options:

  • Sell the Home: You can put the house on the open market and divide the proceeds. During the sale process, one of you may need to find alternative housing.
  • Buyout: One party can choose to buy out the other’s share of the home, allowing one person to retain ownership.
  • Co-ownership: You can decide to keep the home, with one party moving out temporarily or indefinitely. The house can then be sold at a later date if necessary.

Throughout this guide, we’ll delve deeper into each of these options and provide guidance on how to navigate this challenging process. You might be here because you’re either contemplating divorce or are already in the early stages of it.

So, let’s begin with the initial steps you should take.

2. Divorce & the Marital Home: Where to Begin

During a divorce, it’s essential that every action you take is practical and goal-oriented.

Break down significant tasks into smaller, actionable steps that contribute to your overall objective of finalizing the divorce.

Your first priority is:

Home Appraisal

Before you dive into decisions about the house’s fate, it’s essential to determine its value accurately.

Acquiring three distinct appraisals provides a broad perspective. Each valuation brings a unique lens, considering various factors, such as neighborhood development, home improvements, and market demand.

It’s also beneficial to recognize potential biases. Some agents might provide higher valuations with hopes of securing your listing, while others may propose lower estimates aiming for a swift sale. A mix of perspectives ensures a more balanced and informed decision.

To facilitate this, involving both spouses in choosing valuation agents is vital.

This joint approach not only ensures fairness but can also aid in maintaining civil relations. Even in contentious situations, a fair and transparent property valuation process can prevent additional disputes.

Moreover, it’s essential to align expectations. If both partners anticipate a sale that might take longer to maximize returns, they can better prepare for the journey ahead.

Conversely, understanding that a fast sale might necessitate a competitive listing price can set clear priorities.

The Nuances of Professional Valuation

While the initial valuations are foundational, there might be situations where a deeper dive is warranted.

Certified Appraisals: A professional appraiser provides a thorough, research-backed analysis.

This assessment’s impartiality is its strength, rooted in comprehensive market data, neighborhood comparisons, and real estate specifics.

This depth can be crucial, especially if the divorce process requires exact figures for legal proceedings or if the initial valuations varied considerably.

While there’s a cost associated with this service, the value it brings, especially in clarity and precision, can far outweigh the expense. It offers a definitive standpoint, potentially simplifying house-related discussions.

3. Selling the house

Beyond the valuation, the decision on how to proceed with the family home becomes paramount as it is likely to be the largest asset you own as a couple. 

So, it frequently becomes the main dispute when deliberating asset division.

Selling the house is often the obvious solution.

This allows for a prompt, fair, and equal division of profits.

Navigating the financial landscape after a divorce often places the house at the forefront of concerns.

For numerous couples, selling becomes a practical necessity. Without the sale, one partner might struggle to find a new residence or even rent, while the other grapples with the expenses of maintaining the home solo.

Emotional connections to a marital home run deep.

These homes frequently represent happier moments and are cradles of treasured memories. However, the challenge for both partners is to distance sentimentality from pragmatic choices.

The home might symbolize various milestones: perhaps it’s where you planted roots, became part of a community, nurtured a family, or devoted time transforming it into a personal sanctuary, right down to the curated garden.


Yet, embracing a mindset of compromise can be illuminating. Is releasing these sentimental bonds worth the promise of a brighter tomorrow?

For many, selling the marital home post-divorce paves the way to a rejuvenating beginning.

Selling On The Open Market

This method, while most common, demands effort on various fronts — from home staging to hosting potential buyers.

While the process can be exhaustive, it offers a chance for maximum returns.

Engaging a reputable realtor can streamline this, providing expert advice on pricing, negotiation, and the intricacies of home transfer.

However, if you don’t have time and you want to sell as fast as humanly possible check the last bullet point in this section called Selling Via Fast Home Buying Companies.

Auctioning The House

Auctions, while less conventional, bring a unique set of benefits. They create a sense of urgency among buyers and ensure a definite timeline for sale completion.

While they might be particularly advantageous for houses that are unique or need significant renovation, it’s essential to be prepared for unpredictable outcomes in terms of final sale price.

Selling Via Fast House Buying Companies:

In situations demanding speed, these companies offer an alternative. Their process is tailored for efficiency.

While the price offered might be below the market average, the expedited timeline and reduced paperwork can be compelling advantages, especially when emotional and mental energies are already stretched.

Conclusion: The sale of a marital home during a divorce intertwines emotional decisions with logistical necessities.

It’s a journey requiring both partners to balance past sentiments with future aspirations.

Approaching this process with thorough research, open communication, and a willingness to compromise can transform a potential point of contention into a stepping stone towards individual futures.

Whether the decision is to hold onto the house, sell it through traditional means, or seek alternative sale methods, the goal remains consistent: finding a solution that respects both parties’ needs and aspirations.

You don't have to do this alone

To understand why going through us is both better and safer, instead of going directly to your home buying company of choice, click below.

4. Buying out your partner

Divorce and separations are undeniably tough, encompassing both emotional turmoil and the intricate dance of disentangling intertwined finances.

Central to these concerns is the mutual investment in a shared home. Picture it: a house that was once a symbol of unity now stands as a testament to decisions that need careful navigation.

When both parties have their names etched on the mortgage agreement, it becomes more than just a financial matter; it’s about finding a balance, understanding, and cooperation amidst the storm of separation.

Making informed decisions in such scenarios requires both sensitivity and prudence.

Being named on a mortgage means you share the responsibility for its payments, regardless of your living situation.

Even if you decide to leave the house, the obligation for the monthly dues remains with you.

On the other hand, taking on the full financial responsibility of a home you no longer inhabit isn’t ideal.

To sidestep this situation, one party often chooses to ‘buy out’ the other.

Though it may seem intricate, the process can be straightforward, especially if both parties are amenable to an even split.

This approach also offers the advantage of bypassing the complexities of selling on the open market.

Step by Step Process to Buy-Out:

1) House Valuation

Before anything else, know the value of what you’re dealing with.

Aim for a trio of market valuations – it offers a clearer picture and minimizes the chance of under or overestimation.

It’s always best to triangulate when it comes to major financial decisions.

2) Touch Base with Your Mortgage Lender

Before making any decision, contact your mortgage lender. They’ll furnish you with the essential document: a redemption certificate.

This vital document gives you the down-low on your remaining mortgage balance. Plus, it clues you in on any extra costs or penalties that might arise if you change or cut ties with your current mortgage product.

Think of this step as checking the weather before heading out; you wouldn’t want to be caught in a financial storm without an umbrella.

The Buy-Out Calculation

Understanding Equity: If you’re fortunate enough to own your house free and clear, dividing the equity is a breeze. For a home valued at $300,000, it’s a straightforward $150,000 each for a buy-out.

However, if ownership isn’t evenly split or there’s still a mortgage looming, the waters get a tad murkier.

Case in Point: If you’ve managed to pay off $100,000 of your mortgage before parting ways, your remaining balance is a simple subtraction away: $300,000 – $100,000 = $200,000.

For couples who believe in the 50-50 rule, split the $200,000 into two neat halves, each amounting to $100,000.

So, to buy out your partner’s share, you’d need to contribute $100,000 (their half), thereby releasing them from the joint mortgage.

Mortgage Matters Post Buy-Out

Choosing Your Mortgage Path:

Once you’ve settled the buy-out amount, it’s time to determine your mortgage future.

You have multiple options. Stay loyal to your current lender, try out a new mortgage product, or go for the “further advance” route, increasing your existing mortgage.

Mortgage On Your Own:

Embarking on a mortgage journey by yourself requires more than mere excitement.

It’s essential to use a mortgage calculator to determine your standing. Input your income, down payment, and desired mortgage duration to gauge if you can shoulder the financial responsibility without your ex-partner.

If the figures seem daunting, it might be time to consider selling as a feasible option.

Cut To The Chase

If you’re already set on selling your home for cash as fast as possible to avoid a messy divorce, click below.  

The Guarantor Mortgage Alternative: For the deeply committed (or those who cherish their home), a guarantor mortgage might be a viable path.

In this arrangement, a dependable friend or family member steps up, pledging to handle your payments should you stumble.

While it’s a heartening prospect, remember it’s not without its challenges. Your guarantor essentially stakes their assets for you, signifying profound trust and potential repercussions.

Transitioning Away from Guarantor Mortgages: While guarantor mortgages offer a helpful interim solution, they’re best approached as a short-term measure.

The objective? Shift to an independent mortgage after a predetermined period, often spanning a few years.

Steps for a Smooth Home Buy-Out: Seek multiple assessments on the value of the house – aiming for at least three will give you a balanced perspective on its worth.

Engage with your mortgage lender and secure that redemption certificate.

Analyze the data to ascertain your property’s equity and then decide on an equitable division.

After the buy-out, mull over your next mortgage move.

Whether you opt to maintain, modify, or escalate, the decision rests with you.

5. The House Stays, But Who Does?

For those who’d rather not navigate the complexities of the housing market, another option is retaining the house so neither party has to sell or buy the other out.

While some unique arrangements might work for certain families, a more common scenario is one partner choosing to stay in the home and the other deciding to leave.

Determining Home Occupancy

Choosing who remains in the home often boils down to two main considerations: family situations and financial capacities.

Family Considerations

It’s common for the primary caregiver to stay in the home to maintain stability for the children, making their transition smoother and less disruptive.

Financial Considerations

Managing all housing expenses on a single income can be challenging. Beyond just the mortgage, there are utilities, potential repairs, property taxes, and routine maintenance to think about.

Before committing, one needs to evaluate if they can handle these costs independently.

Legal Considerations

After separation, if you believe there’s a need for financial support from your ex-partner, spousal maintenance (commonly known as alimony) might be a path to explore.

However, if a consensus is not within reach, legal proceedings might be necessary to settle property divisions.

Do note, securing alimony isn’t guaranteed; it largely depends on the specifics of your situation.

Four Possible Paths to Home Happiness

Property Division Agreements

Think of this as the house rulebook, spelling out how the property pie gets sliced. It’s flexible – maybe one stays until the kids graduate, or perhaps there’s a countdown to a sale.

Although there’s no one-size-fits-all term in the US, it often becomes a chapter in the broader property settlement story.

Use and Possession Orders

These are the courtroom’s version of a referee whistle, dishing out decisions on who stays in the marital home during the tug-of-war phase. It’s like a temporary hall pass, giving one spouse home rights until specific triggers set off sale or ownership shifts.

Temporary Orders

These are quick fixes – think of them as band-aids – applied during the divorce dance. They may set ground rules on who gets to crash on the couch and how the bills play out.

Separation Agreements

This is the divorce dossier, covering everything from who gets the dog to house handling. It’s not just about brick and mortar but also provides the blueprint for the break-up and how assets, including the house, are juggled.

A WORD TO THE WISE: Divorce rules aren’t universal across the U.S. They’re more like a patchwork quilt, with each state having its own design.

So, before diving into the deep end, rope in a savvy family law attorney familiar with your state’s rules. They’ll help you navigate the property puzzle and decode the legal lingo that’s specific to your neck of the woods.

And remember, every house has its own story; make sure yours has a silver lining, even in the chapter of divorce.

6. Children and Divorce: Navigating Delicate Waters

While divorce is challenging, it doesn’t have to disrupt a child’s life. Today’s family portrait exhibits a spectrum of structures, and the secret lies in placing the child’s welfare at the forefront.

Remarkably, children often fare better with contentedly separated parents than with those unhappily together.

Addressing the Guilt Ghost

Guilt often walks hand in hand with divorce, especially for parents.

Tackling this emotion is vital. Sure, it’s easier said than done, but you’re not alone on this journey.

Entities like Rainbows offer invaluable guidance to single parents on discussing the nuances of divorce with children.

You don't have to do this alone

To understand why going through us is both better and safer, instead of going directly to your home buying company of choice, click below.

Anchoring Children In The Family Home

For many, the aim is to anchor children in the family home, providing continuity in school, friendships, and neighborhood connections.

Typically, one parent remains in the family home, championing stability for the kids. Ideally, this arrangement is harmoniously agreed upon without requiring external mediation.

Yet, hurdles may emerge, particularly financial ones. The departing parent, grappling with the expenses of a new residence while possibly juggling responsibilities for the family home, might find themselves in choppy financial waters.

Enter the Property Division and Settlement, previously discussed in section 4. Such an agreement sketches out a roadmap for the eventual sale of the home, offering clarity on financial responsibilities and timelines.

This system ensures that one parent can persist in the family residence with the kids, while not necessarily assuming the entire mortgage load.

However, a departed parent might find themselves free from mortgage contributions.

If finding an agreement is difficult, the pathway to the court for a Property Division and Settlement, as previously highlighted, remains open.


Dialogue: Initiate a heart-to-heart with your former partner. Chart out boundaries, childcare routines, house access, visitation rights, and communication norms. Keep in mind, it’s less about setting additional rules and more about ensuring a seamless journey for the child

Mediation: If two heads aren’t better than one in this scenario, consider bringing in a mediator to steer the conversation.

Court Proceedings: When all else fails, the court stands as the beacon to seek a Property Division and Settlement.

7. When Your Home Is Registered in Your Spouse's Name

When embarking on the tricky path of divorce, and your marital home sits under the sole name of your spouse, it’s essential to recognize your legal standing concerning the property.

As highlighted by the legal professional Ursula Rice, “Even if the house is solely named under one partner, the matrimonial home rights ensure the other spouse has a rightful occupation for the entirety of their marital status.”

These rights are pivotal and are recognized as ‘matrimonial home rights.’

There might be instances where you are wedded to an individual who independently financed the marital abode, either prior to the nuptials or afterward.

Regardless of the timing, you are likely entitled to a share of the house’s equity. But remember, this entitlement stands only while you remain in the union, hence it’s of utmost importance to stake your claim before the legal dissolution of your marriage.

And if complexities arise, the Property Division and Settlement can be a saving grace.

A protective step to consider in such scenarios is filing a ‘Lis Pendens’.

This document, filed with local property registries, acts as a beacon, signifying the property is mired in a legal dispute.

Though it doesn’t directly grant any ownership rights, it sends a clear message to potential buyers or interested parties about the ongoing contention.

Main Points to Remember from this Section:
Securing your property rights during a tumultuous divorce often entails the filing of a Lis Pendens in the pertinent jurisdiction.

Cut To The Chase

If you’re already set on selling your home for cash as fast as possible to avoid a messy divorce, click below.  

8. Addressing Your Spouse's Financial Uncertainties

In instances where your spouse was the dominant financial contributor in your matrimony, there’s a possibility you qualify for financial support.

An essential note for couples with children is the criticality of updating Child Support details during a separation.

Post-divorce, Child Support will pivot to the primary caregiver, leaving the other partner with potential child maintenance responsibilities.

You’re not left in the dark with the computations—online tools stand ready to provide clarity on child maintenance payment structures.

Considering spousal maintenance?

The discussion doesn’t have to hinge on the finalization of your divorce.

Feel free to broach the topic with your ex-partner, even considering setting up a voluntary arrangement immediately post-separation.

This proactive approach could be a silver lining, curtailing legal expenses.

However, if finding mutual understanding is challenging, and you genuinely believe you merit the support, mediators can be your allies. In situations of absolute deadlock, avenues like the Property Division and Settlement can be explored.

9. Unlocking Post-Divorce Benefits

Let’s talk about the benefits you may be entitled to:

1. Child Support: This is a structured financial aid system where the non-custodial parent helps in covering the kids’ living expenses. It is determined by a mix of income, number of kids, and specific needs they might have.

2. Child Tax Credit: this can significantly reduce your tax bill. The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) can be a blessing for those with a moderate income, and its value increases based on the number of children you have.

3. Healthcare Coverage: The divorce agreement might require your ex to cover the children’s health insurance. If not, Medicaid or the Affordable Care Act might come to your rescue, based on your earnings.

4. Alimony: Beyond the children, if you’ve been leaning financially on your spouse during your union, you might be looking at spousal maintenance or alimony.

5. Government Lifelines: Programs like SNAP and TANF are there for a reason. They can be a lifesaver, especially when navigating the financial maze post-divorce.

6. Childcare & Education: Some states generously offer childcare subsidies.

Remember:  it’s not a one-size-fits-all scenario. Always consult with a legal advisor to tailor-make your benefits blueprint. Each state has its own laws, so always be in the loop about local laws.

Additional Resources

Though this guide strives to be comprehensive, we’re acutely aware that the intricacies of divorce can’t always be decoded via written counsel.

The journey, fraught with emotions and challenges, doesn’t have to be treaded solo. Here is a shortlist of organizations and initiatives stand ready to assist:

American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT): A beacon for those grappling with relationship upheavals, the AAMFT lays out a spread of resources, even guiding you to licensed counselors and therapists in your vicinity.

National Parent Helpline: For parents at the crossroads of divorce or separation, this helpline emerges as a guide, shedding light on co-parenting paradigms, custody intricacies, and the emotional labyrinth of the process.

Legal Aid Society: For those wrestling with financial constraints, Legal Aid Societies in several states can be a lifeline, offering legal assistance without the daunting costs.

DivorceCare: A web of support groups dotting the U.S., DivorceCare is a sanctuary for those battling the tumult of divorce, ensuring they have access to educational tools and a compassionate community.

Let Hardy Assist You

You don't have to do this alone

To understand why going through us is both better and safer, instead of going directly to your home buying company of choice, click below.

We want to help out as many people as possible. That’s why we created this comprehensive article.

If you are looking to sell your home, reach out to us via this contact form.

Depending on your preference and circumstances, we’ll connect you for free with one of our strictly vetted, ethical partners. 

They will help you sell your home for the best offer you can realistically achieve.

They will take care of all of the legal processes and fees and you’ll get the cash straight into your bank account. 

With our partners you can achieve a very fast sale or a slower one if you’re not pressed on time.

Faster sales usually yield a lesser price but they save you time.

It all depends on your circumstances and preference.

Parting Reflections

If this guide resonates, perhaps share it with your partner.

Crafted as an impartial resource, its intent is to shepherd both parties towards an amicable closure.

Knowledge, in such times, is a potent tool, anchoring all involved, tempering emotions, and fostering understanding.

As you navigate selling a home post-divorce, let this guide be a trusted friend, offering solace during trying times.

Home Sale Hardy is your ideal choice for selling your home with peace of mind. We offer a reliable and trustworthy service, ensuring that your home selling process is smooth, efficient, and free from unwelcome surprises. If you’re set on selling your home for cash as fast as possible, click below.  

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