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Property division in divorce if a spouse refuses to sell the house

On Behalf of | Apr 5, 2024 | Divorce

When you have decided to part ways with your spouse, you must work out an agreement regarding numerous settlement issues. For example, if you have children, you must craft an agreement regarding child custody issues. In a high-asset divorce, challenges may arise regarding property division proceedings. This is especially true if one of you wants to sell the marital home but the other doesn’t.

You might have a legitimate reason for not wanting to sell your house when you divorce. Perhaps your children have never lived anywhere else, and you all have strong emotional ties to your home. Maybe you’re worried that you’ll wind up paying higher property taxes and other fees if you’re forced to purchase a new home. Then again, maybe you want to sell your home eventually, just not right now.

Property division options when a real estate deadlock occurs

When one spouse wants to sell the marital home but the other doesn’t, it is known as a real estate deadlock. There may be several options available to help resolve the issue, including:

  • The option for one spouse to buy out the other
  • Trading an asset that is equal to the fair market value of the house
  • Seeking the court’s intervention

If you choose the latter, the judge overseeing property division proceedings will determine whether you can keep the house or must sell it. To trade assets, you must agree to let your spouse have something equal in value to your house or vice versa, if you’re the one who wants to sell. Finally, if you’re financially equipped to do so, you can offer to buy out your spouse on his or her share of the mortgage.

Maryland appraisal value divided in half equals buy-out

If you or your spouse want to buy out the other to keep your marital home in a divorce, you must first have your home appraised. You must then divide the appraised value of the home in half. That is the amount the spouse who is buying out the other must pay. Maryland operates under equitable property guidelines in divorce, so division of property doesn’t necessarily have to be a 50/50 split; it just must be fair.

When both spouses agree to sell the marital home in a divorce, they can split the proceeds. However, if one of you wants to sell but the other doesn’t, you must come to a compromise or leave the property division issue to the court to decide.

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