Selling a House During Divorce in California Guide
The marital home is often one of the most complicated and contentious issues in the division of marital assets. When putting a house up for sale during a California divorce, the process is often stressful for both parties and potentially costly. Knowing the ins and outs of the house-selling process is crucial if you’re going through a divorce and need to move out.
Always remember that during the divorce process in California, several divorce laws and articles can take precedent over your preferences. Contacting a professional attorney can help you draw up divorce papers that fully meet your needs.
If you’re going through a divorce in California and need help putting your house up for sale, check out our comprehensive guide to learn about your choices. This guide can help you make informed, personal decisions that will impact you for the rest of your life.
- Assets and debts acquired by either party during a marital relationship are community property in California.
- Who gets the house after a divorce in California might depend on whether or not the judge considers the residence marital or separate property.
- A California court may order the sale of a marital home after or during a divorce but encourages those in the marital relationship to try to communicate and reach an arrangement with one another first.
- You can prevent having to sell your house after a divorce by considering other options, such as buying out your spouse, co-owning, or dividing assets of equal worth.
Table of Contents
- How Does Selling Your House During a Divorce Work in California?
- Who Gets the House In a Divorce in California?
- Should I Sell Before or After Divorce?
- Who Gets to Stay in the House During Divorce in California?
- Alternatives to Selling During Divorce in California
- Divorce House Sale California Frequently Asked Questions
- Easiest Way To Sell A House During A Divorce In California
How Does Selling Your House During a Divorce Work in California?
If you’re going through a divorce and need help putting your house up for sale, consulting with a courteous attorney for advice is an excellent first step and can help you avoid costly mistakes. The next step is to figure out who really owns the house at issue; this applies to mobile homes as well. The next step is to decide how you will split the money from the sale of the house in California. You can complete the selling process with the help of a realtor, an investor or even by putting it up for sale yourself.
Let’s go into the specifics of putting a home up for sale during a divorce in California.
Step 1: Find a Divorce Attorney in California?
In a divorce case in California, a lawyer is optional. You can represent yourself, but only in uncontested divorces. However, because of the complexities involved, legal experts recommend that you seek the services of an attorney with experience in family law. To prevent any potential for bias, each party should choose their own divorce counsel.
Step 2: Determine Who Owns The Real Estate
To sell a house involved in a California divorce case, you must first determine who owns the house. Judges view houses purchased during a California marriage as community property, meaning both parties in a relationship own their house 50/50, with both sides entitled to half of the residence’s total value. The only exception to this occurs when one seller in the relationship receives the house solely as a gift or inheritance.
Only after verifying who owns the house can you put it up for sale. When it comes to property allocation, California is unlike the majority of other states. Divorce settlements generally distribute marital assets, such as the family house, fairly and equitably, but not necessarily fifty-fifty.
Don’t think that just because you bought your house before your marital relationship began, it’s rightfully yours to keep or sell. Even if you’re the only party who signed the title and deed to the home, the other person can sometimes claim interest if they made financial contributions toward the mortgage or other costs associated with the home throughout the marriage. Additionally, they can claim interest if they can prove that the home was always meant for co-ownership.
It can be difficult to refute an assumption that a title makes. For the residence to legally belong to both partners, there has to be strong evidence showing that the couple bought the house with the intention of sharing ownership. In the absence of a legal dispute about who owns the community property, the sellers in the relationship must decide whether selling the house and splitting the proceeds or buying one another out proves of the most benefit.
Step 3: Decide How You Want to Sell The Property
To sell the family house, it’s best for both sellers in the relationship to choose the same real estate agent; however, either one can reach out and use an agency of his or her choice. Although a settlement agreement detailing the realtor’s involvement is a good idea, it is not necessary for a divorce proceeding in California. In the event that both parties can’t agree on a real estate business, their attorneys can handle the task of choosing one for them.
Cash Home Buyers in Your Area
In California, if both sellers in the relationship agree, it’s possible to sell the home to a local cash buyer. Allowing a local buyer to purchase the house for cash at the offered price is one of the fastest and easiest ways for sellers to sell a house during a divorce. A cash buyer doesn’t care about cosmetic repairs and may even acquire the property without any inspections or showings. When going through a divorce, this is the simplest option for putting a residence up for sale. The only things that the seller and the cash buyer have to agree on are the offer price for which it sells and the closing date.
Direct from the Owner
Depending on the specifics of your divorce, putting your property up for sale without the assistance of a real estate agent and in your own time could prove of the utmost value. You won’t have to worry about paying a fee to a middleman, but your exposure to prospective purchasers may suffer. In addition, keep in mind that when putting the house up for sale by owner, you and the other seller will have to coordinate time schedules to show the house and attend any legal appointments related to putting the home up for sale; this may make you change your mind and opt for a different way to sell your shared properties.
Step 4: Sell The House
How fast you sell your house and how stress-free the process is depends on the strategy you choose. Remember, there is no need to wait for cash buyer financing or contract stipulations like house inspections or appraisals when putting the home up for sale to a local cash home buyer. For sellers who want to sell their homes the fastest way possible, putting it up for sale for cash is the way to go.
Hiring a realtor will require some coordination between all involved parties, including both sellers in the relationship, the agent and the potential buyers, to secure financing and perform inspections. However, working with a realtor will often result in a higher price for the property than working with a cash buyer or investor. It’s up to the couple to decide whether the higher price is worth the hassle of hiring a realtor and waiting for the marital home to sell.
Step 5: Divide the Proceeds from the Sale
The amount of money you get from putting your house up for sale during a divorce in California depends on many factors. Before any distribution may occur, you must first pay all property taxes. You must also pay in full the house’s mortgage and any home equity loans or lines of credit. If you’re selling your house via an agent, their commission fee will come out of the funds the buyer pays.
Who Gets the House In a Divorce in California?
Who gets the house after a divorce is a question with a definitive answer. During a divorce, one seller in the relationship may believe that the marital house belongs to him or her only because he or she bought it before the marriage. But this isn’t always the case. Who gets the home after a divorce in California depends on a few factors.
One partner owned the home prior to the marital relationship.
If one seller in the relationship bought the house before the marital relationship began but didn’t fully own it, the court will consider whether or not any marital finances went toward the home loan payments. The court will also take into account how much each seller in the relationship paid toward the home’s upkeep during the marriage and before they decided to seperate. In many instances, the court won’t make either party give up his or her share of the home’s value but will require one seller in the relationship to make a greater financial contribution to consider the home equally shared by both spouses; this is often seen in divorce cases in which one party paid off a significant amount of the mortgage before the marriage began.
One seller in the relationship wants to sell the family home that they co-own.
If a married couple buys a home during their marriage, both people in the relationship own it 50/50. However, if one owner wishes to sell their stake, the other owner must refinance the property and remove their name from the title. The party who will reside in the house will have to refinance the loan payment in order to have the other person’s name removed.
Despite being joint homeowners, neither partner is eager to move.
If a couple got married, bought a property and now neither of them wanted to sell it, the situation would most likely end up in court unless the couple agreed to share ownership. In determining what is equitable for both parties in your case, the court in California will reach a conclusion.
The only other potential outcome is if both people in the relationship own the marital home and are eager to sell it; this is the simplest possible scenario.
Should I Sell Before or After Divorce?
Partners in a relationship who divorce in Californiacan sell a house either before or after a finalized divorce. However, unless both sellers can agree on all aspects involved in putting the home up for sale, it is important to discuss, negotiate and settle any issues that may arise before completing the divorce process.
The Pre-Divorce Sale
If you and your partner decide to sell the home before the divorce is official, it’s important to communicate and work together to make sure you’re both on the same page. You should write up an agreement deal that outlines the process for choosing a real estate agent or investor, the scope of any suggested repairs and the final sales price. The fewer problems you want with the sale of your home, the more information the agreement should contain.
The Sale Following Separation
Couples should make an effort to settle who will be responsible for the upkeep of the marital house before taking the issue to court. If a couple is unable to settle their marital property dispute amicably, the court may order the spouses to sell the home and divide the proceeds in accordance with the judge’s divorce decree decision. In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the sellers will get an equal portion of the proceeds.
- First, how soon you need to sell your property depends on whether or not you and your spouse can afford to wait.
- Is either of you seeking to buy a new house soon, or would you prefer to rent?
- Is one partner responsible for most of the home loan payments, or were they evenly split up until now?
Who Gets to Stay in the House During Divorce in California?
A number of variables influence which spouse ends up keeping the home after a divorce. Both sellers have an equal claim to continue living in the marital residence until the divorce is complete. In California, a spouse’s contribution to the mortgage or improvement work done on the house during the marriage may entitle them to a portion of the property upon divorce. Therefore, in California, both spouses may have an interest in the property and the right to continue living in the house after a divorce, even though only one spouse’s name appears on the title.
However, the court may issue a temporary order declaring not to remove any children from the house and that the parent with sole child custody remain there with the children while the other parent resides elsewhere. In cases involving minors and custody, it is wise to book an appointment with a professional divorce lawyer.
Alternatives to Selling During Divorce in California
You have alternative options to consider when putting a residence up for sale during a divorce in California.
Co-Own The Property
It’s possible for those experiencing a divorce to maintain joint ownership of a home if the property is underwater or market situations present reasons not to sell. The sellers involved will need to come to terms on how to divide the property’s expenses (utility fees, mortgage lender fees, property tax fees, etc.), including who is responsible for making those payments and when.
Continuing joint ownership of the home until a later time has its advantages. It allows time for children to remain in the residence longer and enables you to wait to sell until you secure a higher asking price. It also gives you time to make any changes to the home you want, such as adding cased windows, to increase your final asking price.
Buy Out The Other Spouse
One may buy out the other by paying 50% of the residence’s current value. The spouse who pays the required amount will then become the sole owner of the residence. If the spouse can’t afford the buyout, other options include getting a home equity line of credit or doing a home loan refinance.
Divide the Marital Assets
If neither spouse has a desire to put the home up for sale, co-own it or buy the other person out of his or her share, another option is for one spouse to maintain the residence while the other spouse keeps other marital property of equal value. One spouse could retain the house while the other receives a sum of money, a retirement account, automobiles, etc. This strategy is viable only if the couple has a sizable quantity of valuable assets, allowing each partner to pick and choose which assets to maintain.
Divorce House Sale California Frequently Asked Questions
Explore answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding selling a residence during a divorce in California.
Can I sell the house before the divorce is final?
Yes. If there is a risk the house might go up for sale through foreclosure or one of the spouses doesn’t cooperate, one spouse can petition a judge for permission to start the home-selling process before the divorce gets finalized.
Is California a 50-50 divorce state?
In a divorce proceeding in California, the community property and 50/50 division laws apply automatically. However, it does not imply that the sellers must adhere to such standards.
How does capital gains tax work in a divorce?
In most cases, neither seller in the relationship will see a gain or loss on their investment portfolio as a result of a divorce-related transfer of assets. This means the transfer or acceptance of assets during a divorce settlement does not often result in any immediate taxable ramifications.
Can I force my ex to sell the house after the divorce?
Courts don’t normally force the sale of residences during a divorce, even when a law exists to do so. Judges will usually require a trial to remedy spousal disagreements regarding a shared residence, and trials can sometimes take years to go through.
How do I sell my house if one partner refuses?
Before employing an attorney for a partition case, a joint owner who wants to sell should try to reach an arrangement with the other joint owner or owners. In partition cases, you request that the court order the sale of assets owned jointly and distribute the cash fairly among the owners.
Easiest Way To Sell A House During A Divorce In California
If you are facing divorce and have further questions, you should avoid costly mistakes by contacting reputable divorce lawyers who have worked with housesales – Eazy House Sale guides homeowners through the maze of differences in the options they have when putting a residence up for sale during a divorce in California. We connect our clients with reputable entities that buy houses, like local cash buyers; this hassle-free process allows divorcees to sell their residence as-is, fast and with no repairs needed. We are happy to help. Contact us now.