Selling a House During a Divorce

Divorce is difficult. Figuring out how to sell a house during a divorce can add a lot of extra stress. Facing the split of your largest shared asset is tricky to navigate, and many questions can come to mind. Can you sell a house during a divorce? What are the best options? Who is liable for the house?

It’s common to face overwhelming feelings during this time. It’s important to know the legality of selling during a divorce in your state, what reasons may lead you to sell, and how to sell. The following article will help guide you through selling a marital home to ease part of the decision-making process. 

Can You Sell a House During a Divorce in WI

Can You Sell a House During a Divorce in WI? 

When divorcing your partner, if neither of you wishes to keep the house or you can not afford it, it is legal to sell the home. This will apply to any material property you share together. Marital property is any property that was purchased during the course of the marriage. 

Before agreeing on selling the home, it is essential that you look through all of your options. Some options include:

  • Selling the home
  • Co-Owning the home
  • Buying out one partner’s share

While all of these options have good reasoning, selling the home is often the easiest way to go. Co-owning a home post-divorce can lay the bricks for a long-time commitment to continued communication of both parties. If both partners agree to one person staying in the house, you can choose the buy-out option.

Legal Reasons for Selling a House During a Divorce 

Since every divorce is unique, legal reasons for selling a family home will vary. In some cases, both parties can peacefully reason with one another, making the decision process run smoothly. Unfortunately, it is common for divorcing parties to go back and forth on a lot of decision-making.

If opposing parties can not come to an amicable decision outside of court or through their attorneys, the matter will go to court. Going to court can be costly and time-consuming, so agreeing to sell before this point is advisable. Selling is often the best solution to divide the asset fairly.

Financial Reasons for Selling a House During a Divorce 

Financial considerations are the strongest push factor to selling a home during a divorce. Your marital home’s mortgage was likely set up according to both of your incomes. One party taking over the mortgage alone can cause serious financial strain. Even if one party can afford the mortgage, necessary payments such as utilities, insurance, property taxes, and upkeep can quickly drain finances. 

There are also tax ramifications to consider when deciding when to sell. With the capital tax gains law, a couple selling a home can exclude up to $500,000 from federal capital gains taxes. If a single party sells the home post-divorce, that exemption amount drops to $250,000.

Who Is Liable for the House During a Divorce? 

Both parties remain liable for the house during the divorce. Liability post-divorce can vary depending on what option the spouses went with. Here are each of the previously mentioned options in regards to liability:

  • Selling the home – During the process of selling the home, both parties are equally liable. When the house sells, both parties will no longer have liability after the mortgage and any outstanding payments are cleared.
  • Co-Owning the home – This option is most common when divorcing parties have young children. One spouse remaining in the home and keeping the mortgage can ease disruption for the children. In this case, the parties can agree to each contributing to payments, or the remaining spouse can pay the full amount. However, if one party defaults, both are still liable.
  • Buying out one partner’s share – If one spouse chooses to stay in the home, they can take over the mortgage themselves. If the remaining spouse qualifies for a refinance of the home’s mortgage, then liability will be in their hands only. The remaining spouse will have to buy out the departing spouses’ equity as well. 
How to Sell a House During a Divorce

How to Sell a House During a Divorce 

There is a process that goes along with selling a house during a divorce, and a lot of thought is necessary. Here are the steps to take when selling:

Get on the Same Page

You can get through this step by researching companies that buy houses in Wisconsin, how to sell my house fast in Milwaukee, companies to buy my house in Brookfield, and how to sell a house by yourself. Selling your family home is likely to involve a mix of emotions. If you have trouble balancing an open line of communication on your own, consult your attorney. 

When you decide to either sell with a company or sell on your own, it’s time to talk about money. You will need to discuss the amount you both feel comfortable listing your house for. Once the listing price is final, you can move on to preparing your house.

Get the House Ready

This step is the best time to take care of repairs, re-paint, cleaning services, and decide how to split the costs that come with this. If you are still living in the home, you will need to declutter. Home presentation is a crucial part of getting your home to sell.

This is also an excellent time to start dividing up belongings. Things such as furniture, decor, tech accessories, and keepsakes will need to be split. For items too difficult to agree upon, consult your attorney. If you are no longer living in the home, then home presentation may be easier. If selling on your own, you can choose to show the house vacant, or an agent may decide to stage the home for you. 

Field your Offers

The length of time your house will be on the market will vary. It is advisable that you prepare yourselves for both a quick sale and a long sale. When the time does come to start reviewing offers, teamwork will be essential. If you are having a difficult time communicating, remember your attorney is there to help. 

When it comes to offers, that ball is in your court. Prepare for periods of negotiation. You can decide to accept an offer as is, but many people will counter-offer. Try your best not to rush this step because of your pending divorce. Selling your home is a big decision, so take the time you need to accept a suitable offer. In some cases, you may receive a cash offer. You can read more here on accepting cash offers for your house.

Divide and Conquer

After accepting an offer and collecting the money, it’s time to divide and conquer. As the final stage of the process, it is essential to handle this part correctly. The escrow company will pay the remaining mortgage and any leftover fees before handing any money over to you. If an escrow company was not a part of the process, then you will be responsible for paying off all fees, including the mortgage, before splitting the money. 

It is important to note that the divide of the money may not be 50/50. If one spouse was paying a higher percentage of monthly payments, they may take a higher amount of the money. Another consideration is the spit of all other assets. If one spouse is taking more in assets elsewhere, they may take less of a profit from the home sale. Consulting with an attorney when splitting the final money is advisable.


Going through a divorce can be a trying time. Going through a divorce with large assets between you and your spouse can be even more of a challenge. Going through the selling process, while draining, is ultimately an advisable choice when going through a divorce. Taking the correct measures to get there can help ease the process for everyone. 

Selling your home during a divorce in Wisconsin is possible and oftentimes the best choice regarding financial and legal obligations. While there are multiple choices of what you can do with your marital home, selling the home is an optimal choice for those who wish to no longer be liable for the home.

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