Part of any divorce process is the division of marital assets and debts. Often, this includes deciding how to “divide” the marital residence. One option is to sell the home and distribute the proceeds as part of the division of assets. A Murfreesboro divorce attorney at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby offers tips for selling the house in a divorce.
Understanding the Division of Debts and Assets
Tennessee is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to the division of marital assets in a divorce. Tennessee Code Section 36-4-121 defines marital property as follows: “Marital property means all real and personal property, both tangible and intangible, acquired by either or both spouses during the course of the marriage up to the date of the final divorce hearing and owned by either or both spouses as of the date of filing of a complaint for divorce, except in the case of fraudulent conveyance in anticipation of filing, and including any property to which a right was acquired up to the date of the final divorce hearing, and valued as of a date as near as reasonably possible to the final divorce hearing date. . .” If your marital residence is considered marital property it will be part of the division of assets in your divorce. Equitable distribution does not mean that the court must divide the assets equally. It simply requires a fair division of the marital assets. Often, one spouse remains in the home and other assets are used to compensate the other spouse for his/her share of the equity in the home. If, however, you decide to sell the home and divide the proceeds of the sale you will undoubtedly want to get top dollar for the home.
Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of the Sale of Your House
If you and your spouse have agreed to sell the marital residence, or the court has ordered the sale, the following tips will help you sell the home as quickly as possible and for as much as possible:
- Cooperate with your spouse. If your divorce has been less than amicable, it may be difficult to cooperate with your spouse during the sale of your home; however, keep in mind that being uncooperative will likely cause it to take longer to sell the home and/or decrease the amount of money you receive from the sale.
- Have the home appraised. A real estate agent will likely do a Comparative Market Analysis to give you an idea of an appropriate listing price. Nevertheless, the court may require a professional appraisal if the home is to be sold after the divorce is finalized.
- Hire the right real estate agent. Just like you should not try to represent yourself in a divorce that involves valuable assets, you should not try to sell your home without the assistance of an experienced real estate agent. Do your homework and ask for referrals to find the right agent.
- Make necessary repairs. Once you have hired the right agent, listen to his/her advice regarding repairs and/or improvements that will improve the odds of a quick and profitable sale. Spending money on the home you are selling in a divorce may be the last thing you want to do; however, you should get the money you invest back — and then some — when the home sells.
- Be realistic and reasonable. If your divorce is contentious, or you have an emotional attachment to the home, it may be difficult to analyze an offer from a non-emotional standpoint. This is where knowing the home’s value and hiring the right real estate agent pays off. Keep your expectations realistic based on your knowledge of the home’s value and consider all reasonable offers based on your agent’s advice.
Contact a Murfreesboro Divorce Attorney
If you have additional questions about divorce in Tennessee, it is important that you consult with an experienced Murfreesboro divorce lawyer to ensure that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your free appointment.