Divorce: Should I Sell my House Before or After?

Should i sell my house before or after divorce in the uk

Divorce is the last thing on a persons mind when they decide to buy a house with their spouse.  All that time, money & effort you’ve invested into your home feel like a total waste. Sadly, these things do happen but there is a little light at the end of the tunnel if you’re being able to make the most out of the sale of your house. The question remains, is it better for you to sell your house before or after the divorce here in the UK? A case could be made for either depending on your own individual circumstances. Let’s take a look.


Should i sell my house before or after divorce?


Divorces are tough and can take a toll on you mentally and physically. That said, it’s important to remain vigilant and calm so you able to work out a fair deal for both parties because in the majority of divorces, the family home is the largest asset to settle.

It’s important to remember that every divorce is different. Each person will have their own set of unique circumstances so it’s important to understand what these are so you are able to divide the house and your other assets fairly.

People often ask questions like “can i sell the house in a divorce” or “can i keep my house in a divorce” – the short answer to both of these is yes, it just depends on your personal circumstances.

Let’s take a look at the points mentioned in the infographic above in a little more detail to make them a little easier to understand and digest. We will start by looking at the pro’s & con’s of selling up before divorce.


The Pro’s for Selling your House Before Divorce


  1. Selling your marital property before divorce gives you the chance to agree on how the houses assets will be divided beforehand. The alternative would be that you leave it and potentially have disagreements and arguments about it at a later date. Once the sale is finalized you can split the revenue generated as you have agreed upon with no disputes and then go your separate ways. That said, for this to be viable you have to be on good speaking terms so you are able to sit down, talk and work things out.
  2. If you are able to sell your property before the divorce you will get a nice little payout for you to begin your new life with. Divorces are very stressful so it can be hard to focus sometimes. The extra income generated via the sale of your house could assist you in getting back onto your feet if you need to take some time off work or alternatively, you could use it to invest in a new business venture.
  3. Even if you hate the thought of your former partner right now, there’s no denying you once had something special with them. Selling your house early, before the divorce gives the the chance to bury the hatchet and move on with your life quickly. You will have both good and bad memories in your marital home so letting go as soon as possible might make it easier for you to move onto the chapter of your life.

The Con’s for Selling your House Before Divorce


  1. Property markets here in the UK are unpredictable even at the best of times. If you have decided to sell up before your divorce has been finalized you may end up having to wait a long time depending on how much you want for your house. The added time may lead to other complications if it takes too long.
  2. Generally, people who are looking to sell before their divorce are looking to get things done fast so they can move on with their lives. This is might not be the right decision as divorces can be mentally draining and people often make rash decisions which could end up costing them financially in the long run if they want to push through with a sale.

According to the Office for National Statistics, divorce rates increased 5.8% in 2016 compared to 2015. This is why it’s even more important for anyone going through to a divorce to know & understand the pro’s and con’s of selling their house before or after the divorce so they can get the most out of their shared assets. Below is a graph detailing the divorce rates from 1950 – 2016 of marriages and divorces of opposite sex couples in England and Wales.


Divorce rates from 1950 to 2016 of opposite sex couples in England and Wales

Source: Office of National Statistics (ONS)


Moving on, let’s take a look at some of the pro’s & con’s of selling your house after the divorce.


The Pro’s for Selling your House After Divorce


  1. To even consider selling your property after divorce – you and your former must be on good terms. This will make things much less complicated during the sales process. If you decide this is the right option, you should sit down together and decide your living arrangements until the house has been sold. Is one of you going to remain in the property? Are both you going to stay but live separately? These are just some of the many questions that need be answered beforehand.
  2. Selling after the divorce gives you more time to decide how you want to split the revenue generated from the sale. Too many people make rash decisions during the early phase of the divorce when emotions are high resulting in them losing out on thousands of pounds.
  3. Additionally, divorce doesn’t always come at the best time. Sometimes the property market is slow so if you’re able to hold off on a sale until it recovers you can potentially make more from the sale.

The Con’s for Selling your House After Divorce


  1. If you’ve decided to sell your house after divorce know that there’s no guarantee it will sell it quickly and there is a chance that it could become a long winded process. For example, if one of you or your ex partner have decided to stay in the house after the divorce (and the other has moved out), it might not be the in best interest of the one staying to actively look for a seller because they are settled and things are easy. Selling conditions and requirements should be made clear between you and your former spouse beforehand so you can avoid issues like this at a later date.
  2. Not all divorces end in couples still talking to each other. For this to work you need to be on talking terms or it will just complicate things further.

Other points to Consider when going through a Divorce


There are few other things to think about during a divorce and these include:

  • Your kids. What will happen to your children during your divorce? Which option would better suit them? Selling before? Selling after? Not selling at all? These are all questions that need to be answered. It’s likely that your kids have settled into their schools, have friends in the area, attend clubs in area etc – the list could go on. It’s important to factor them into any decision you make on your family home.
  • Capital gains tax.  You don’t usually have to pay CGT if you give, or otherwise dispose of assets to your husband, wife or civil partner but you may have to pay CGT on assets you transfer to your ex partner after your relationship ends. That said, if you lived together in any point during the tax year that you transferred the asset the normal set of rules apply for spouses and civil partners. As the sale of a house can drag on sometimes we advise you consult with a professional if you’re unsure about anything.

Bonus Option: Buyout your Spouse


Couples going through a divorce don’t usually consider this option but it still remains viable if you’re able to afford it. The obvious benefit of being able to stay in the house is you get to stay right where you are and continue with the rest of your life. All your friends will remain friends, your children get to continue going to the same school, if you work close by you won’t have to worry about commuting or finding a new job – the benefits are endless.

There is of course one huge obstacle that won’t allow you do this and that is the cost. If you’re unable to afford it or can’t come to some sort of agreement with your former spouse then unfortunately, this is not an option for you.

In Conclusion

As every divorce is different, whether you choose to sell your property before or after divorce depends on your personal circumstances. That said, don’t forget it’s not only you who will be affected by the decision you make. If you have children, you should remember you need to cater for their needs as well.

Did you know we here at Housebuyers4u are experts in buying houses throughout the UK regardless of situation or location? We can provide a tailor made house sale solution to fit your specific needs.

If you’re struggling with a divorce HB4U can help you divide up your assets with minimal fuss and stress, allowing all parties to move on with life within 1-2 weeks.

Get your no obligation cash offer now!


We’d love to hear your opinions! If you enjoyed our article visit our home owners advice center for more of the same. If have any questions or would like to give us some feedback, feel free to contact us at any time or leave a comment below!

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