Deciding what to do about shared marital assets during the divorce process can be complicated. Often the largest marital asset is the family home, as well as any other real estate. Selling a home during divorce can make an already challenging experience even more emotionally taxing. One question we often receive is whether it’s best to sell the house before the divorce or after. While every divorcing couple’s situation is unique, there are pros and cons to consider for each option.
Selling the Home Before Divorce
- Selling the home before your divorce is ideal for situations where neither spouse can afford to buy out the other’s share of the property or otherwise would not be able to afford to maintain the home alone.
- Funds from the sale would be available for your new home or other moving expenses.
- It’s likely neither spouse will pay taxes on the equity as the capital gains tax exemption applies to married couples.
- The sale of the house is one of the most important parts of the divorce process; getting this out of the way beforehand is a big step forward.
What to keep in mind:
- Money from the sale will need to be placed in escrow.
- Both spouses must be on board with this arrangement.
- You will have to stay married until after the sale is finalized.
- Waiting on the sale of the home could potentially delay the divorce.
- If one spouse is being uncooperative, it can make dividing the proceeds of the sale and the items in the home that much more difficult.
Selling the Home After Divorce
- If things have been contentious, waiting until after the divorce could help things cool down first.
- There’s more time to plan for where to move after your divorce.
- It may be possible to include the sale of the home in the divorce decree, which could ensure both spouses still have access to the marital capital gains exclusion.
- Waiting to sell the home could stretch out the amount of time divorcing spouses must remain in contact.
- Depending on the housing market, it could be months before the house sells.
When emotions are high, it can sometimes be difficult to make the best financial decisions for you and your family. Working with a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® can help you keep your best interests in focus during the divorce process, especially when dealing with the largest and most valuable marital assets. Contact us today to discuss your options.