You and your spouse are ready to call it quits. You’ve done everything you can to make your relationship work out, but it’s clear that it’s just not going to happen. Sadly, you both agree that it’s time to contact attorneys and start on the path to divorce.
Fast forward a few weeks and, under the advice of counsel, you’ve put your house on the market and received a great offer from a qualified buyer—you feel like you’re home free!
Knowledge is power, and knowing what might come next can help you predict and navigate troublesome situations before they arise. Here are some issues to look for—and respond to—before they put the kibosh on your sale:
You and your spouse can’t agree on terms: It’s not unusual for divorcing spouses to have trouble communicating. Depending on the severity of your final pre-divorce fallout, you may even be facing off against someone who will be intentionally combative, frustrating your every attempt to settle the sale amicably. Knowing where you and your spouse fall on the Conflict Spectrum can help you determine how much extra planning you’ll need to do, and how much support you’ll need to have to accomplish your goals.
Your spouse refuses to sign the necessary documents: Maybe your spouse wants to keep the house for themselves, or maybe they simply want to make the divorce process extra arduous for you. In either case, refusing to sign required documents is a guaranteed way to stop the transaction in its tracks.
Your spouse disappears at the last minute, so they can’t sign the closing docs: A last-minute trip to Tahiti might sound like a great way to relieve the pressure of divorce, but if you or your soon-to-be-ex decide to disappear, make sure you wait until after closing. Neglecting the critical final step of a home sale—the closing—can result in cancellation of the sale, and you and your spouse could be liable for penalties owed to a buyer who was expecting to take possession of his or her new home on closing day.
One spouse intentionally sabotages the sale: It seems silly to sabotage a sale that you, yourself will benefit from, but some spouses are so angry they’ll do anything to cause their partner pain. If you think your spouse is likely to sabotage the sale, partner with a real estate agent who’s trained to manage this type of situation. A Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert will work neutrally with you, your spouse, and the attorneys on both sides to manage a transaction that is as trouble-free as possible.
You have liens against your property: Unexpected clouds on your home’s title can throw a wrench into your best-laid plans. For instance, if you’ve ever had a major renovation on your home, your contractor probably put a lien on your house. If that lien isn’t removed—either because his bill wasn’t paid or because he simply forgot to release it—your home has a “cloud on title.” Outstanding taxes and bankruptcies, unrecorded conveyances, and pending property-related lawsuits are other examples of title issues that could delay your transaction.
There are many more snags, unrelated to divorce, that can cause delays or prevent your real estate transaction from closing, so be sure you have a strong, experienced team on your side from the beginning. Partnering with a reputable attorney and a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert will help you navigate legal landmines and put and your spouse in the best position to sell your home quickly, at the highest dollar, and with the fewest irritations and delays.