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  • Writer's pictureLisa Auer

What happens to the house during a divorce?

During a divorce, you’ll likely have many questions about what happens to your home, your finances, and where you’ll live. Below are some answers to frequently asked questions:

What happens to my current home after divorce?

For many people, deciding what happens to the family home is one of the most important issues to be addressed in a divorce. If the home is community property, there are two main routes you can take to reach a solution. You can sell the home and split the proceeds, or one person can “buy out” the other, which usually involves refinancing the mortgage. As a Realtor, I can prepare a free comparative market analysis (CMA) for you with the estimated market value for your house, which can be useful in considering whether it is possible for one spouse to buy out the other. Sitting down and discussing these options will help you get on the same page and minimize friction.

What happens to my current home while the divorce is pending?

Usually, one spouse continues to live in the family home until it is sold or awarded to one spouse as part of the divorce judgment. It is important to be clear on how the mortgage and other expenses for the house will be paid during this interim period and whether any reimbursements will be owed to the other spouse. Unfortunately for many, divorce can be a time of great financial hardship. If you are having difficulty paying the expenses for two households after separation, and one spouse cannot afford to buy out the other, it may make sense to sell your current home sooner rather than later. We can discuss further what is the best option for your situation and come up with a plan to accomplish your goals.

Can I buy a new home while the divorce is pending?

Yes, but it can sometimes be difficult to purchase another home until your divorce is final. In most situations involving child support and/or spousal support (alimony), the payments must be received for a specific time period before you can use it as qualifying income. If you are still listed as a co-borrower on the mortgage for the prior home, it may be harder to qualify for a new mortgage. I can connect you to an experienced lender who can give you the best advice for your unique situation.

Work with a Realtor who understands both the San Francisco real estate market and the divorce process

Buying or selling a home in San Francisco can be challenging at the best of times. Add in the stress of a divorce, and it becomes even harder, especially if you hire a real estate agent who has no experience in this area. I’ve navigated this process alongside many clients who have struggled with the same financial questions and stresses you are experiencing. I understand both the San Francisco real estate market and the divorce process. Prior to transitioning to real estate, I practiced family law for 12 years. As a trained mediator, I am experienced at working as a neutral with both parties going through a divorce and helping them reach agreement. I know that being properly educated on the intricacies of this process and being aware of your available options is the best way to minimize unnecessary stress and achieve the best outcome. Finally, I understand the emotional impact a situation like this has on someone and that you need a trusted advisor, not a salesperson.

Please reach out to learn more about how I can help.


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