Selling your home as you divorce? Timing is key

Selling your home as you divorce? Timing is key

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For many divorcing couples, selling the family home and splitting the equity is the best choice. It can be nearly impossible for one person to afford to take over the mortgage and handle the property taxes, neighborhood association fees, maintenance costs and other expenses.

One question you have to answer, however, is whether you should sell before or after the divorce is final.

Selling your home before the divorce is final

There are some advantages to doing this. For example, if you make a profit, you’ll have funds earlier to pay for divorce costs and the cost of getting a new place to live. You’ll also have a better idea of what your financial situation will look like post-divorce, so you’ll have a better idea of what you need to seek in the settlement. Being rid of the home can also help you let go of the past.

There may be disadvantages. If the home doesn’t sell quickly, it could delay your divorce. If you and your spouse are barely speaking at this point, the home sell process can be fraught with battles. Sometimes going through the divorce first can help you learn to work together and compromise.

Selling the home after the divorce is over

If you have children, it may be better to give them a little more time in their home rather than have that ripped out from under them just as they’re adjusting to their parents ending their marriage. If you don’t have children, moving out of the house can help you move on more quickly than if you’re still surrounded by memories of your marriage.

It may be easier to split up belongings after the divorce and the property division agreement are final. By then, you may also have gotten past the initial rancor you felt toward your ex at the beginning of the process.

The right decision is unique for each couple. It’s best to get as much legal, financial, tax and real estate advice as possible to help you do what will be best in the long run.