What happens if our house doesn’t sell before the divorce is final?

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What happens if our house doesn’t sell before the divorce is final?

Wife and I divorcing but are living together until the house sell, or the divorce is final, whichever comes first. How should we structure the decree so that I don’t get stuck with all the fees of selling the house and she walks away with “half the equity” when we don’t know the final selling price? Goal is to split the proceeds of the house. (Side note, we also have an unsecured loan we had planned to pay off with the proceeds, which complicates things)

Asked on October 30, 2012 under Family Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

The divorce courts can and often do appoint receivers to handle the sell of homes and settlement of associated debts.  The reciever is usually a third party who is then responsible for making sure the house is sold, the paperwork processed for paying off the mortgage, and then receiving the proceeds.  The proceeds are then entered into the registry of the court.  The spouses will recieve a check from these proceeds in the amount ordered by the court.   The court will usually order the division by percentage, rather than specific dollar amounts, when the property is still pending sell.  The judge can also order the parties to pay any fees by percentage (i.e. 50-50, 40-60, ...)  You don't have to have a receiver, but it helps to prevent issues associated with one side claiming the other is not doing enough to get the house sold. 

When trying to structure a settlement agreement, these are some of the things that you can include in the agreement.  You should also list in the decree who is responsible for certain duties associated with the upkeep and preparation of the house while it's on the market.  For example, one spouse may be granted exclusive use of the house.  One may be responsible for showing the house on weekend showings.  You can also write into the final agreed decree that the unsecured loan is to be paid out of the proceeds of the sale of the house prior to the division of funds from the sale.  As long as the division of assets and duties are fair, family court judges will usually approve any agreements and structured settlements that parties reach.


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