The divorce rate is roughly 50% in the United States. Despite your best intentions and efforts, divorce is still possible, and some might say, probable.
If you’re going through a divorce in the state of Maryland, it’s crucial that you learn how it’s handled, and what matters you should look into to make it a straightforward process. Knowing what to do with your house is one of the most important things you need to come to grips with.
Here’s what you should know about handling a home sale during a divorce in Maryland.
Understand the Divorce Laws in Maryland
For starters, it’s important that you get an understanding of Maryland’s divorce laws as a whole. This helps you go through the process, making sure that all obligations are taken care of.
Finding out what to do with your home is one of the biggest financial matters that you’ll need to consider in a divorce. Get to know these aspects of divorce law:
Consider the Types of Divorce
What is divorce?
This seems like a simple answer, but since every state has its own legal definitions, it’s worth exploring. In fact, the state of Maryland has two different types of divorce – absolute divorce and limited divorce.
Absolute divorce refers to permanently and completely ending your marriage. Limited divorce refers to a formal separation, during which married couples hash out major issues in the relationship and union.
Like most states, Maryland has specific grounds for divorce requirements. The grounds for divorce that you file will depend on the type of divorce that you get.
For an absolute divorce, grounds for divorce include:
- Cheating or infidelity
- One spouse is serving time for committing a crime
- Claims of insanity
Maryland also allows no-fault divorces, which just means that the marriage has suffered irreconcilable differences. You can get a no-fault divorce as long as both spouses are on board.
Limited divorces include the following grounds:
- Spousal cruelty
- Spousal desertion
Keep these grounds for divorce in mind so that you’re filing correctly and able to move the process forward.
Residency and Separation Requirements
Next, you need to make sure that you satisfy Maryland’s residency and separation requirements. You both need to show proof that you live in Maryland, and must have lived in the state for no less than a year.
If your divorce requires a separation period, you need to make sure that you’ve been separated for at least a year as well.
Filing and Waiting Periods
The process of divorce in Maryland begins after one party files. A person gets 30 days to respond to a divorce petition in the state of Maryland.
Once all matters have been hashed out, there’s no waiting period for the divorce to be finalized. You’re officially divorced after the ink is dry.
Selling a Family Home During a Divorce
Now that you’re up to speed on Maryland’s divorce laws, it’s time to figure out how to sell your home.
Divorces often involve things like child custody and child support, so make sure that you’re also handling these matters while figuring out what to do with the marital home. A house is often the biggest asset that people own, so it’s not something that should be rushed.
Handling the home sale correctly will allow both spouses to find closure, while also getting a fair deal.
Here are some of the major points to consider:
Learn How Maryland Distributes Property
Maryland is an equitable distribution state. This means that during a divorce, the courts will split the property or the handling of the sale in a way that is fair to both parties.
This is different from other states, which do a 50/50 split no matter what. Some of the factors that are at play in equitable distribution decisions include:
- The contributions made during the purchase, payments, and upkeep of the home
- Each spouse’s earnings and income potential
- How long the two of you have been married
Factor in these details as you begin planning the sale of your home.
Consider and Establish Ownership
Next, you have to establish and consider the ownership of the home. For instance, did one of you own the property going into the marriage, or did you purchase it during the relationship?
Get copies of the property deed for verification, and make sure that it’s current and up-to-date. If both spouses have their names on the property deed, you’ll both play a role in determining whether you want to sell, and will have a say in the outcome.
Hash Out Your Goals for Selling the Property
Establish some goals for selling the family home. This could just be a matter of ending the relationship and moving forward, or you might have other circumstances at play. Many people sell their homes to handle debt or to help themselves out when they’re in a financial bind.
You, your spouse, or both of you might also want a lump sum payment to help you both move into the next phase of your lives. Know what you want from a business point of view and allow it to inform your decision-making.
Remove Emotion and Get Counseling
One of the biggest divorce disadvantages is that it’s difficult to not make it personal. You put your all into a romantic relationship and had plans of living together forever, so it’s a crushing blow when you realize that it’s not going to last.
It’s crucial that you set emotions aside regardless so that you can conduct business in a logical and rational way.
Seek divorce counseling or therapy so you can find closure in the relationship and handle it with tact and fairness.
Get the House Appraised
Hire the help of a home appraiser that will let you know the value of your house. This way, you can set a price point that you’re willing to accept and a threshold for how low you won’t go under.
The professional appraisal will let you know the value of the house in today’s landscape, so you can set a sales price that will get you the return on investment (ROI) that you’re looking for.
Handle Maintenance and Repairs
Take the time to fix anything in your home that needs some work. Leaving important repairs undone can put the home sale in jeopardy or compromise how much money you’re able to get.
Get the house inspected by a licensed and insured contractor so that you know what kind of projects you’ll need to handle. Some of the most important repairs to consider include:
- Fixing roof leaks and other types of damage
- Repairing the foundation and other hardscapes
- Tackling plumbing and natural gas problems
- Getting electrical work done to fix circuits and wiring
- Upgrading your landscape to improve curb appeal
It’s easier to name your price when there are no glaring issues with your home. Put together a team of professionals that can help you handle any issues that you come across.
Have a Plan for Your New Living Arrangement
While selling your home is the goal, make sure that you also have plans for your new home. You need to be able to pivot once the home sale goes through, and should make sure that you have plans lined up in advance.
Finding a new home may also play in your home sale strategy. For instance, you might use the proceeds from the sale as a down payment for a new home.
Stay put until the divorce is finalized, and consult your attorney every step of the way. Depending on the circumstances, it can be construed that you abandoned the marital home if you move out before the ink on the divorce decree is dry.
Meet With Some Real Estate Agents
It’ll take the help of some real estate professionals to get the outcome that you need. Talk to some real estate agents that can market the property and get you prospective buyers as quickly as possible.
They understand the real estate market in your area and will help you out with things like posting high-resolution photos and videos and creating virtual tours. Real estate agents can also help with fielding offers and negotiations so that you don’t have to worry about the day-to-day process.
In addition to having a divorce attorney, hire a team of real estate lawyers that can help you out. Weigh your options with each potential buyer, and resolve to move quickly, while not rushing.
Find the Best Home Sale
The points above are helpful and useful when you’re trying to figure out how to undergo a home sale while also going through a divorce. This is one of the biggest aspects of any divorce, so make sure that you take it seriously.
Josephia Law can provide you divorce with a plan that works. Take the time to contact us on our site, or give us a call at (240)269-3592.