Divorce, real estate and how to work out the buying, selling a house in Maine.
When you are in a divorce, the song goes something like this, sang a little off key “breaking up is hard to do”.
Well, splitting up the couple and dividing up the real estate properties in Maine is usually a sad song.
But over half of us are divorced and kids often involved for the better, worse or more of the same.
This real estate blog post is about what happens to the current house, how do we buy or sell any home during a divorce.
Maine law, divorce and the real and personal property means rules to abide by. This blog post is a quick easy read to focus just on the real estate, the properties. This is what I see from my experiences as a Maine real estate broker if a couple splits up.
Maine is a common law state which means marital property is not automatically assumed to be owned by both parties in the marriage.
But it should be divided equalty when a divorce happens. What’s fair, what is equal and how to make the most even half of everything is a little fuzzy. Never cut and dry easy. Maybe one spouse retains possession of the home forever or just a period of time. That adds a wrinkle and who carries the expenses?
Is the asset sold and proceeds split or is there even any house equity money left over after expenses? Or stay put kids, until the youngest child is up and out of the house, turns eighteen years of age. Is it steady as she goes keep the same household living situation then sell? Right of first refusal to buy back the Maine home set aside in the divorce decree even though one spouse swears a relocation move from the area will never happen?
Taxwise, would it be best to list and sell the Maine house while legally married? And how does capital gain taxes work when living here two of the last five years as the primary residence?
The divorcing couple may be moving on with their separate lives.
But if there is money on the table, both usually wholeheartedly agree. Don’t waste it thinking happens in my experience with divorcing couples. The accountant has the answers to those scenarios in tax exposure financial situation. More on capital gains taxes in divorce real estate sales.
How is real estate split in a Maine divorce?
Who has rights to the house in a divorce? Can a judge order the family home to be sold? If one spouse gets the house but there is a mortgage on it, does that spouse still have to hold up their end of the loan obligation? Inheritances, what is real or personal property in a Maine divorce? The more civil the divorcing parties are, much can be equitable split out of court which saves time, money, high emotions.
When I get the call from the home seller to list and sell pieces of property in Maine in a pending divorce, I talk to his or her attorney too.
To find out what we can and can not do to help in the Maine real estate end of things.
When a final divorce decree with a judge’s signature on it is recorded, I high tail it to the county registry of deeds to study it. To get a copy and while there to obtain all the legal deed descriptions, any registry recorded survey plat maps that pertain to the house.
The terms of the mortgage, is there money owed and a lien on the property? Divorcing or not, that lien has to be taken care of for the free and clear to close with any Maine home buyer.
Also, when someone emails or stops in looking for a new home and I learn they are in or have finished a divorce proceeding in Maine, I need the same back up process with the home buyer done as with the seller.
Timing is everything. Are they in a divorce with hands tied or do their obligations from one interfere with buying a house? Lets break this blog post up into two parts. The divorcing / divorced home owner selling first and later on down the screen covering the purchaser trying to buy real estate during and after a divorce.
DISCLAIMER. This blog post is NOT designed to provide divorce legal advice. I am not a divorce attorney nor do I play a role as a lawyer on any television show.
Who gets what, how do you make it a fair and equitable outcome when it’s a long nasty contentious legal battle? Or better yet, when the break up “settling of affairs” is handled in a fast and friendly divorce situation? What is fair can be subjective. There is some victory if that is important to either party who has hurt feelings and feels dumped.
Get a good Maine real estate lawyer, take your vitamins, get your sleep and exercise hard for the divorce ahead.
Like a Maine winter, you’ll survive and get to the other end just fine. I’m focusing on the real estate ends of things when a divorce happens.
Communicating with the parties involved and trying to stay on task of who does what and when. Setting expectations what has to happen to buy or sell a house when in the middle of a divorce in Maine.
It is not uncommon for lots of negative energy from both sides of the divorcing parties but we attack a problem, not judge a person. Help the divorcing parties get the property bought and sold is the real estate mission. Some transactions are easier than others.
So much depends on the divorcing partners, their attorneys, the past history events, if there are kids or not.
But also all the outside influences from your mother in law on down to advice from someone in one or already divorced. The grapevine always buzzes with what others heard how so and so ended up in their final divorce decree. You pay more attention to those conversations when you find yourself in a Maine divorce proceedings as the plaintiff or defendant.
First up, you are the seller, you own property that you think is only in your name. So it is just yours to do with what you with as you see fit right?
If you bought it during the marriage, it is marital property to consider in the dividing the spoils. Or maybe joint money was used to fix it up and improve the nest. If you buy another house to live in because you moved out of the one you shared with a partner you are untying the marital knot. But that new home could be a new wrinkle in the divorce division.
There are lots of rules in the what you can and can not do when a divorce is pending.
More often than not, you can not do much without the approval of the spouse, the divorce attorney representing you and that spouse.
What do sellers do when they are in limbo and limited before a final divorce decree is issued?
The same thing buyers do, they rent. Move in with parent or head to a girlfriend, boyfriend’s home. Maybe make the relocation to the marital vacation second home.
If they are lucky, they have help from a relative who buys a home and keeps it in their name until after the divorce proceedings finish.
All the bank accounts, the assets, the debts and obligations are under the microscope during a divorce to make sure everything is out in the open. Don’t sell anything, forget buying any major items during this divorce period folks.
Home sellers going to a bank for a mortgage to buy another place to call home during a divorce have a problem. The seller can not guarantee what the judge will issue for a final divorce decree. As confididant as the seller is, as rock solid sure the he or she is convinced how things will end up, the bank wants to see the final piece of paper after the dust settles.
The seller may have mortgage obligations on other property, child support formulas and alimony payments. All to figure out and banks want to wait to learn their financial obgliations from the divorce decree.
Unless there is an agreement signed between you and the divorcing spouse that makes it crystal clear, it is not set in stone. If a divorce has lots of moving parts, plenty of assets to wrestle over, you better take a number and a seat. The wheels of justice are slow enough and adding in how long discovery of all the financial numbers takes means there goes two years of your life in pending divorce mode.
Sad to say it is often a simple math exercise made more complicated because there is a fine line between love and hate in a divorce.
Resentment and not able to make the simplest decisions together and problems staying civil is more often than not what I have to deal with in Maine divorcing real estate sales. But the mediate don’t litigate solution is out there when both parties are ready to get divorced.
In any divorce, the plaintiff and defendant parties want a say in how it ends up and you do not want a judge to have to arrive at the final decision that neither of you will like.
The best divorce solutions are the ones the soon ex wife and ex husband pen together.
They both feel happy or that neither one of them came out on top. That judge figures you have very capable attorneys representing you and don’t tie up his or her time that is better used on other most pressing legal cases.
He or she wearing the robe will sign and agree to whatever the two attorneys are recommend as they approach the bench.
But making sure the language is in there about what if someone wants to move, how is visitation handled to avoid opening up the docket to return and fight some more. Those return visits in family divorce court are expension, long and tedious.
The property or multiple pieces of Maine real estate and what happens to the real estate when buying or selling a house in Maine?
Divorcing Maine home buyers and sellers have an extra set of rules and regulations to go by. Because in Maine, when you are divorcing and split up, state law has a common law system approach to equitable distribution of the real estate. Properties bought before, during, after a marital divorce all get reviewed by the courts and lawyers brought in to litigate or hopefully mediate the divorce proceedings.
Okay, part two of the divorce, buying real estate in Maine blog post.
You are the Maine home buyer, served with divorce paperwork or the party initiating the process. You need a new place to live but are saddled with debt on where you already hang your hat. Divorcing or not, this is a situation of buying the next home when having to sell the old house. Not enough money to pay for the new home means banks stamp the mortgage loan application with a big red “rejected” or “denied”.
The same holds true… if you have the money to buy another home, should you through the divorce process?
Or better off waiting? Ask your divorce lawyer before making any moves. To see if they are wise ones or to see if it is legal to do so within the constraints of your divorce proceedings. Tapping into retirement accounts, cashing anything in is something to go slow and do carefully.
The problem with divorce is two incomes combined in one household to create a certain standard of living is suddenly gone.
The bills go on just the same for when it was two incomes. Now the one joint household is being sliced and diced into two smaller parts. Divided back into the individuals on their own to handle the household expenses. As the Maine real estate broker trying to help the buyer and seller affected by divorce proceedings, there is lots of discussion on how best to do that with the housing needs.
Maybe renting is the only option when not enough money to buy a home.
Furnishing a place when what you had is now gone is an added bureden. That’s an added expense those with an empty house to fill with furniture do not usually expect. The financial situation will change again as post divorce lots of things can change. Another partner is added into the mix and the numbers can go through more adjustments.
The divorce degree obligations for child support, who pays for medical expenses, braces, sporting camps and lots of other items has to be figured out.
That’s what the bank mortgage lender looks at to determine you the borrower can swing it. The bank wants to make home loans. But is there enough left over after all the installment debt to handle this extra housing payment?
And when the divorce decree is not final, there is no guarantee where the chips will fall so to speak. The previous house loan both of you took on is a financial obligation. So is the both of you signing for the SUV, paying off student loans, credit card debt for the last vacation, etc.
The divorce lawyer who tells one party to stop making the payments on this, this and that bill can cause credit scores to drop.
An individual in the marital home that ceases paying the monthly bills can impact the other partner named on those bill obligations. All the creditor knows is the payments are not being made and they are forced to take the appropriated action. More on buying a home when getting divorced.
It is basically get court approval, document and put everything in writing when doing anything during a Maine divorce.
The level of distrust is at an all time high so don’t add more to the divorce drama. Don’t use joint assets to feather your own nest so to speak. No matter how much you think it is justified, the courts may view it otherwise. Keep everything above board and on the up and up out in the open transparent.
Do what your divorce attorney tells you to and learn why it is the only option.
Everything is up for review and nothing done goes unnoticed… you are like it or not in a court proceeding and there are limits options during your Maine divorce. No two divorces like home sales are the exact same. Even if you have been through a divorce, the second or subsequent one does not mean they require the same steps to take to get to completion.
One divorcing party may be ordered to re-finance or list the property for sale but that task does not always go smoothly.
What if one party can not get a bank loan to buy the other out? Then the Maine property is listed for sale and that’s where I come in.
If the property owner left living in the house does not want to sell? That individual can make the house difficult to show and to look its worst. The two partners are no longer working together and divorcing remember?
The property price that is too high means the home will not sell.
Sometimes the party living there while the other one is picking up the tab likes it this way. Holds on to that one sided situation as long as the courts will allow. The banks that made the loan on the place want their money. Foreclosure starts when the monthly installment is not made after so many months. It is all spelled out in the fine print about “you pay you stay, you don’t you won’t”.
Divorce, it happens and Maine home sales are affected by it but life goes on. Over the last forty years of listing and selling properties in Maine, have been involved in divorce sales. Hope this blog post on divorce, real estate and buying selling a home in Maine is helpful.
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MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton Maine 04730 USA