Selling a House After Divorce

Selling a house after divorce can be a difficult decision.

Going through a divorce is often deeply upsetting. Having to sell the former marital home after divorce can add additional stress to an already difficult time.

From agreeing living terms to determining the separation of assets, divorce is never an easy process. Add to this the legal cost of getting divorced and the costs associated with selling a house, and you have an even more stressful situation.

Around a third of divorcing couples will need to sell their property. It is natural to want to sell shared assets and move on quickly, but the traditional home selling process can be slow and hamper this completely.

Depending on where you live, it can take up to 295 days just to receive an offer on the open market. This time uncertainty could mean lengthy delays and impact your ability to find new accommodation and achieve closure.

Divorce and Children – Putting the family first

The family home is often the location of many memories and firsts, and it can be especially difficult to come to terms with selling it. In addition to holding sentimental value, the family home is often the largest asset, which can make determining what

Family law concept. Divorce section of the property by legal means. Scissors cutting paper.

to do with it even more difficult. The most important thing is to place your family at the heart of all discussions, and look at what is best for any children involved. You should, therefore, keep up with mortgage payments to protect the asset from repossession. If the change in your circumstances has made it difficult to keep up with necessary payments, you should contact your lender immediately and make them aware of this.

You should also note that a court will take into consideration the needs of any children, especially younger children, when dealing with your divorce. If tensions are high, it’s important to try to take time apart and remain calm when discussing the sale of the home. If you don’t feel this is possible, you may wish to instruct mediation to deal with the process effectively.

Understanding your rights to your home after divorce

In legal proceedings, your property will be referred to as the FMH, or “former matrimonial home“.

When you are separating, there are a few possible scenarios with regards to your home:

Keep the home as is

Depending on the circumstances of your separation, it may be that you don’t choose to change the legal or financial status of the house, but one of you decides to move out. This could be the case if you have children nearing 18 who will be leaving shortly for college or university.

Sell the house

If you both amicably decide that selling is the best decision, you should explore your options. You can either instruct an estate agent to sell your former marital home on the open market or, if you’re looking for a quick sale, you can contact a home buying company like Quick Move Now. A genuine cash home buyer will be able to buy your property on a date of your choice; in as little as 7 days, if required.

The money received from the sale of your marital home can then be split between you equally. This is often the most straightforward option, especially if there are no children involved.

Buying your ex out of the house

If one partner from a marriage wants to remain in the home, there is the option of buying your ex out of the house. Whether or not this is possible will totally depend on the financial circumstances of the individual who wants to stay in the home and the lender’s criteria.

Which of the above choices you make depends on a number of factors. The most important thing to remember is to try to reach a voluntary agreement. If both parties cannot agree on a way forward, you will have to go to court, which can result in one or both parties not getting the end result they had hoped for. It will also have additional cost implications.

Selling a house after divorce

If you both agree to sell the property, there are a few questions that may help you get started:

  • How much is my house worth?
  • Will I use a high-street estate agent or sell myself online?
  • Should I contact a house buying company to see what they offer?
  • Should I take my property to auction?

Selling house after divorce - Choose which way to sell house

A good starting point is to have an idea of how much your house is worth.  In the event either party disputes the valuation, a court may order a local surveyor or estate agent to carry out an additional valuation.

Decide on the method of sale

Next, you’ll need to decide which method you will choose to sell your home.

For example, you may wish to put your house up for sale following the conventional route of instructing an estate agent. They will take care of all aspects of marketing the property; from photography, writing online listings, organising viewings to negotiating offers on your behalf. For this service, a traditional high street estate agents will normally charge a fee anywhere from 1.5-3% of the sale price of the property.

If you would prefer to take more of a hands-on approach, you could choose to list the property yourself with the assistance of an online estate agent. Online estate agents usually have a fixed fee (irrelevant of the sale price you achieve) and you can choose to be an involved as you like with the marketing. If you are still unsure about the difference between traditional high-street estate agents vs online estate agents, read more here >>

If you are in a hurry to sell and are willing to accept less than full market value, there are some alternative options to selling on the open market.

You may decide selling a house at auction after divorce is the best route for you. While the house may sell for less than you could have achieved by listing it on the open market, the sale could take place much quicker than via traditional routes. This may be beneficial if the split has become acrimonious.

You may decide you want to sell to a professional property buyer, like Quick Move Now. Companies that buy houses for cash will not pay full market value, but they do offer the quickest method of selling your house.

Quick Move Now, the UK’s leading cash home buyer, has over £6 million available to directly purchase properties and can buy on a date of your choice. If you want the transaction handled with discretion, so as not to draw unwanted attention towards the sale of your home, this could be a desirable option.


Where can I find out more about my divorce house rights?

You should contact legal representation to find out more about your rights when it comes to selling your home.

Can the courts postpone the sale of our house?

In England and Wales, the courts can issue a Mesher order, which in effect postpone the sale of a marital home, normally until the youngest child in the family turns 18 years of age. If there are no children involved but a deferment is still required, the courts may issue a Martin order, which entitles a specific party to continue to occupy the house. 

What should I consider when selling?

There are a number of things to consider before deciding whether a sale is the best course of action for you. If you do want to sell, you should think about whether achieving market value or a certain asking price is more important, or if you would be comfortable forgoing this for the sake of a speedy sale. You should also think about how moving could impact your children - for example, would they have to attend a different school? Will the move disrupt their study during a crucial period?  These and other factors should be taken into consideration when deciding whether to sell immediately, delay the sale, transfer ownership or remain in the house.

What happens if my spouse wants to sell, but I don’t?

Your spouse cannot force you to sell the family home. If an amicable, voluntary agreement cannot be reached, the case may be taken before the courts, which may result in an order to sell the home. This order will be granted depending on a number of factors, but should you wish to avoid this process, you could instruct a mediator to assist with negotiations.

This content was written by Quick Move Now
Published on 2nd July 2016
Last updated on 30th July 2019