No happy couple thinks about the possibility of divorce, not when you are registering for china, and certainly not when you are signing off on a 30-year mortgage. However, life happens, and sometimes couples do not wait until death to depart from one another. Children’s time can be shared, but a house cannot go to one spouse during the week and the other spouse on weekends and for two weeks during the summer. In a perfect world, one of you will want to keep the house, and the other will simply sell his or her share of the equity during the divorce settlement. If you both want the house, you will have to let your lawyers do battle in court. If neither of you wants the house, you will have to sell it. If it comes to selling, make sure you find an agent who is just as good as your divorce attorney.
- Try to find an agent who specializes in selling homes for divorcing couples. While divorce can turn most of us into emotional basket cases, you will need to be rationale and cooperative when it comes to working with your agent or broker to get your house on the market. Keep the communication flowing and open between you, your soon-to-be-ex, and your agent. If it is an ugly divorce, give your agent permission to discuss details with your attorney so that you do not have to be involved in meetings, calls, and paperwork with your spouse.
- Be flexible. Decide who will live in the house while it is on the market. That person should be responsible for keeping it clean, maintained, and always available for viewings and open houses. If the economy has both you and your spouse strapped for cash, you might have to stay in the house together. According to CNN, it happens more than you think. If you have to go to such lengths, set boundaries that will protect your privacy and your kids from any confusion or mixes messages.
- Decide how profits from the home will be split. This should be outlined in your separation agreement, and if you have questions or concerns, consult your attorney.
- Keep paying your mortgage. Settle how this will be done. Usually, the person living in the house is responsible for keeping up with the mortgage payments, as well as the homeowner’s insurance and the utilities. Sometimes, the other spouse is also responsible for some of the expenses. Work with your attorney to figure this out, but make sure mortgage payments are being made on time, otherwise your credit will plummet and you will run the risk of default and foreclosure.
- Look for new housing. Make sure you have somewhere to live once the house sells. Whether this means buying a new home, renting something, or moving in with family members, be sure you are prepared. You never know how quickly your house will sell, and the sooner you can close, the sooner you can move on.