Selling a House During a Divorce in North Carolina

Selling a House During a Divorce in North Carolina

Selling a House During a Divorce in North Carolina

Navigating Real Estate During a Divorce or Seperation in North Carolina...

Divorce can be a hard phase in anyone's life, and the added responsibility of selling a house can further complicate matters. Especially in North Carolina, where unique property laws play a pivotal role. How does one navigate through this maze? Let's unravel the mystery.

In North Carolina, there's a distinction between marital and separate property. Marital property refers to assets acquired during the marriage, while separate property pertains to assets owned before the marriage or acquired as gifts or inheritance. Why does this matter? Because only marital property is divided during a divorce.

The state operates under the equitable distribution principle, ensuring that marital property is divided fairly, though not necessarily equally.

Referenced from: North Carolina State § 50-20.  Distribution by court of marital and divisible property.

Factors such as duration of the marriage, contributions to the marital home, and financial circumstances are considered.

Every couple's situation is unique. Hence, the decision to sell the house should cater to both parties interests.

It is important to understand the process of divorce in North Carolina and the potential implications it may have, especially when real estate is marital and could be divided by a court.

Filing Divorce Papers to Sell Home in NC

We Buy Houses During Divorce All Over North Carolina:

We buy divorce homes in the Hubert NC, Morehead City NC, Richlands NC, Wilmington NC, Sneads Ferry NC, Swansboro NC, Raleigh NC, New Bern NC, Emerald Isle NC, Charlotte NC, Hampstead NC, Carolina Beach NC, Beaufort NC, Greenville NC, Fayetteville NC, Jacksonville NC, Holly Ridge NC, Greensboro NC, Surf City NC, Topsail Beach NC, Durham NC, Winston-Salem NC, Surf-City NC and New Bern NC areas.

What Happens to the House in a Divorce in NC?

In North Carolina, the marital home is treated as a marital asset, subject to "equitable distribution". This means the house's equity will be divided fairly, though not necessarily equally, between the spouses. Factors considered might include each spouse's financial contribution, the length of the marriage, and other unique circumstances.

Factors influencing this distribution encompass:

  • Financial contributions: This includes both initial and ongoing costs.
  • Non-financial contributions: For instance, if one spouse handled home maintenance while the other focused on financial earnings.
  • Duration of the marriage: Longer marriages might see different asset divisions than shorter unions.
  • Economic and noneconomic needs and faults: Adultery, abandonment, or financial recklessness can influence decisions.
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    4 Things to Also Condsider During a Divorce:

    1. Splitting Large Assets or Personal Property...

    If both parties have substantial assets or a large amount of assets, it's a wise decision to divide them up with a plan of distibution.

    Both parties should agree who gets what assets, before a court decides for them. This would be the ideal outcome, as the courts may divide assets and have an imbalanced outcome. 

    Splitting large assets may not be easy, however the outcome would be best for both parties, as on will not be shorted out on potential gains. 


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    2. Owning the House Together (Co-Owning)...

    Owning the house together or "Co-Owning" the house before, during  and after a seperation or divorce is possible. Both parties would have to be generally accepting of each other until they agree to sell the property. This is very valuable if either party needs to get priorities together before fully moving on after the divorce.

    Children in the home may need to continue going to school and uprooting them from friends and potential family members can also cause trauma for children. It may be a wise idea, if possible to co-own the home together until the time is right. 

    Co-Owning the property may also induce risk on both parties, as the mortgage payments, taxes, repairs and other household items will need to be taken care of. Very often homes become neglected as one party fails to uphold their responsibility for maintaining the home. 

    It is very common for a home to go into a "Pre-foreclosure" process. Whereby the owner(s) have missed at least 3 mortgage payments and have now defaulted on the loan. 

    In this instance the bank would send out a Lis Pendens, or Notice of Default.

    This would neccesetate the sale of the property as soon as possible becuase this indicates neither party is financially capable of paying for the mortgage.

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    3. Buying Out the Other Spouse's "Equity" or "Interest"...

    At its core, "equity" refers to the actual value of the house minus any outstanding mortgages or other liens. When we talk about buying out a spouse's equity or interest, it means one spouse compensates the other for their share of the home's net value, thereby allowing one spouse to take sole ownership of the property.

    Why Consider a Buyout?

    There are several reasons couples opt for a buyout:

    Emotional Attachment: The home may have sentimental value, making it difficult for either spouse to part with.
    Children's Stability: To maintain a stable environment for children, a parent might choose to remain in the marital home.

    Children's Stability: To maintain a stable environment for children, a parent might choose to remain in the marital home.

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    Financial Sense: In some cases, it might be more economical to keep the house rather than sell it, especially considering market conditions.

    Most often, the spouse intending to keep the house will need to refinance the mortgage in their name. This not only provides the funds to buy out the other spouse's equity but also releases the departing spouse from future liability on the home.

    4. You May Want to Sell the House Altogether...

    As mentioned before, selling the house on the retail real estate market is a decent option, as you make make the most money from a market listing. This only makes logical sense when there is equity in the home and needs little to no repairs.

    This option would give the couple money to be able to move into new houses, pay off debts from the marriage, repay debts to the other spouse and other future financial benefits.

    The one major drawback is if the couple has not lived in the house longer than 2 years, or owned it longer than 2 years, they would have to pay capital gains tax. This rate could be as low as 20% or high as 40% depending on the tax bracket of the individual.

    Selling the marital home on the MLS or the Retail Market can be a risky move, especially if one spouse is on a time crunch  in order to pay bills, move into another home, or one souse is taking care of the children. 

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    Do I Have to Sell My House in a Divorce in NC?

    No, selling the marital home is not a compulsory aspect of divorce in NC. Couples have several options: one spouse might buy out the other's interest, the property can be co-owned post-divorce, or the house can be sold with profits (or losses) divided.

    Here's 3 Things You Need to Be Aware of When Selling During a Divorce in NC:

    1. Legal Battles That May Take Forever...

    Legal battles, especially those concerning family matters, can sometimes stretch on for years, draining both parties emotionally and financially. Understanding the reasons behind these extended conflicts and being prepared can be of extrememe value.

    Custody Battles: Deciding on child custody can be one of the most emotional and contentious aspects of a divorce. Parents might disagree on living arrangements, schooling, or religious upbringing.

    Disagreement on Property Valuation: Disputes over the value of shared assets, especially property, can cause delays. This is particularly true if both parties produce different valuations from independent appraisers.

    Lack of Compromise: An unwillingness to negotiate or compromise can stall the legal process. This rigidity can stem from emotional reasons, legal advice, or both.

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    2. Liability Risks That You Don't Want to be a Part Of...

    Mortgage Complications

    Joint Mortgage: Many divorcing couples have a joint mortgage, meaning both are responsible for the loan.

    f one party remains in the home but fails to make timely payments, it can negatively impact both parties' credit scores.

    Even if the divorce decree states that one party is responsible for payments, lenders can still pursue both parties for the debt.

    Title Transfer Troubles

    Quitclaim Deed: This is often used to transfer property title from one spouse to the other. However, it only transfers the title, not the financial responsibility.

    If the departing spouse's name isn't removed from the mortgage, they remain financially tied to the property, potentially facing financial repercussions if the remaining spouse defaults on payments.

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    3. Financial Reasons May Dictate the Sale of the Property...

    Selling a marital home during a divorce is never an easy decision. Beyond the emotional ties, financial implications often drive the choice. In North Carolina, where property division during a divorce follows the 'equitable distribution' model, understanding these financial reasons becomes crucial.

    Mortgage Affordability

    Often, a dual income made mortgage payments manageable. Post-divorce, a single income might not suffice, especially if alimony, child support, or other financial responsibilities come into play.

    One party may find it financially unsustainable to keep the house, leading to missed payments, foreclosure risks, and credit score damage.

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    Maintenance and Upkeep Costs

    Maintaining a family home can be expensive. Post-divorce, these costs—ranging from routine maintenance to property taxes—can become burdensome for one party. The ongoing costs might make it financially degrading to retain the property, prompting a sale.

    Can a Divorce Judge Force You to Sell Your Home in NC?

    Yes, You May be Forced by a Judge to Sell the Home...

    Yes, if spouses cannot agree on the fate of the marital home, a judge can order its sale to ensure both parties receive their equitable share from its proceeds. This typically occurs when neither party can afford to buy the other out or if co-ownership isn't feasible.

    A judge has the authority to order the sale of a marital home, especially when:

  • The parties cannot mutually agree on its fate.
  • Neither can afford a buyout.
  • Maintaining the home post-divorce isn't feasible.
  • Selling is seen as the fairest way to ensure each party receives their equitable share.
  • As a general rule of thumb, it's wise to keep a level head and have both parties plan out the sale of the home in the best way possible. This makes life easier for everyone. 

    Judicial Sale of Divorce Home in North Carolina

    Legal Implications of Selling a House During a Divorce in North Carolina

    1. Equitable Distribution:

    In North Carolina, the principle of equitable distribution governs the division of marital property. This doesn't necessarily mean a 50-50 split but rather what the court deems as fair. Factors considered include each spouse's income, property brought into the marriage, the duration of the marriage, and the standard of living established during the marriage.

    2. Marital vs. Separate Property:

    It's essential to distinguish between marital and separate property. Generally, assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property, while assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance/gifts are considered separate. The distinction can impact how the property is divided and whether it can be sold without the other spouse's consent.

    3. Court Orders:

    If spouses cannot agree on selling the house, the court may issue an order to sell the property, especially if maintaining the property is financially burdensome for one party. The court may also order the sale if it's deemed in the best interest of both parties.

    4. Tax Implications:

    Selling a marital home can have tax consequences. Typically, married couples can exclude up to $500,000 of gain from the sale of their primary residence, while single filers can exclude up to $250,000. However, post-divorce, each party may be subject to the single filer limit. It's crucial to consult with a tax professional to understand potential capital gains tax implications.

    5. Liens and Mortgages:

    If there's a mortgage on the property, both parties are typically responsible for the debt, even if one party moves out. If the mortgage isn't paid, it can negatively impact both parties' credit scores. Additionally, if there are liens on the property (e.g., from unpaid debts or judgments), they must be addressed before the sale.

    6. Buyout Agreements:

    One spouse might decide to buy out the other's share of the property. In such cases, the buying spouse should refinance the mortgage solely in their name to remove the other party's financial obligation. A buyout can be complex and may require property appraisals to determine the home's current market value.

    7. Use of Sale Proceeds:

    7. Use of Sale Proceeds:
    If the house is sold, the distribution of proceeds should be outlined clearly, either in a written agreement between the spouses or as ordered by the court. Factors like mortgage payoff, realtor fees, and other selling costs should be considered.

    8. Children and Custody:

    If children are involved, the court may prioritize their well-being. Selling the family home can disrupt their lives, especially if they have to change schools or adjust to a new living situation. The court may consider factors like the children's age, emotional attachment to the home, and proximity to their school and friends before making a decision.

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    Selling a House Before the Divorce Settlement in NC

    Choosing to sell a marital home prior to the conclusion of a divorce can be a strategic move for some couples, but it's essential to understand the legal and financial implications specific to North Carolina.

    Equitable Distribution in North Carolina

    North Carolina is an "equitable distribution" state, meaning marital assets are divided in a manner that's fair, which isn't always equal.

    Before selling the house, both parties must agree on how to split the proceeds. This could be influenced by contributions to the home, the financial needs of both parties, and other shared assets and debts.

    Preemptive Sale Benefits

    Selling the home before finalizing the divorce can simplify the asset division process.

    By converting the property into liquid assets, couples can avoid prolonged disputes over the home's value, potential future upkeep, and market volatility concerns.

    Many parties decide to sell the home during a divorce in NC. So far as both parties agree to, and uphold their end of the agreement, selling a home during a divorce is much the same process as a typical home sale. 

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    How to Sell a House During a Divorce in NC?

    Navigating the sale of a marital home amid a divorce can be challenging. In North Carolina, understanding the specific steps and considerations is essential to ensure a smooth transaction.

    Before listing the property, both spouses must agree to the sale.

     If an agreement can't be reached, a party might need to seek a court order to force the sale. An attorney or lawyer can guide you through this process much more efficiently.

    Emotions can run high during a divorce. Picking a realtor that neither party has prior individual affiliations with can avoid biases.

    Selling to a Real Estate Investor may warrant a faster, and less complicated home sale. Comparable home sales will be shown to you by both an agent and investor to determine your home's market value.  

    There are  two distinct options to sell your home during divorce in NC:

    Final Paperwork to Sell a house during divorce north carolina

    Selling a House on the Open Market

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    1. Preparing the Home

    Repair any damages, declutter, and depersonalize. Consider home staging to appeal to a broader audience.

    2. Setting the Price
    Research comparable sales (comps) in your area or get a professional appraisal. The right price can attract more potential buyers.

    3. Listing the Property
    You can list the property yourself (FSBO - For Sale By Owner) or hire a real estate agent. Agents can help navigate the sales process, negotiate deals, and access a broader network of potential buyers.

    4. Marketing and Showing
    Advertise the property through online platforms, traditional media, open houses, and private showings.

    5. Negotiating Offers
    Review offers, negotiate terms, and settle on a final price.

    6. Closing the Deal

    This involves final paperwork, transferring the title, and receiving payment. An attorney or real estate agent can guide you through the legal and procedural aspects.

    Typically yields a higher sales price.
    Can appeal to a larger pool of buyers.
    Realtors can help with negotiation and paperwork.

    Often takes longer to find a buyer and close.
    Requires investment in repairs, staging, and marketing.
    You'll need to pay realtor commissions.

    Selling a House to Cash Home Buyer

    1. Submit Our Form

    By sumbitting the form on our website, or by calling 910-335-4046 we can asses your situation and have an action plan ready to go for you. 

    2. Scheduling a Walk - Through

    We will schedule a quick walk through of the property, going over comparable home sales, needed repairs, and any other information necessary to make the selling process pain free.

    3. Going Over the Details

    We will also go over  the details for your specific situation. Sometimes couples need to move or sell immediately with no time for a realtor or showings. We can buy the house subject to the existing mortage, or with cash!

    4. Closing the Deal

    Thanks to our streamlined process, we can have paperwork completed very quickly and close on your timeframe.


    We can close quickly within a matter of 14 days or less.

    No need for repairs or cleaning up the home. We buy houses as-is in any condition!

    No realtor commissions or attorney fees to pay. We also pay all closing costs!


    During a divorce, you may be choosing to use and investor due to speed and convenience. This means you'll be selling the property below market value in order to achieve this.

    Due diligence is required to ensure the investor is reputable. Check local reviews and BBB Accredation.

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    Selling a Home After the Divorce Settlement in NC

    The terms of your divorce settlement will dictate the steps you need to take when selling the marital home.

    If the agreement specifies that one spouse retains the property, they have the sole discretion to sell and keep the proceeds unless otherwise stated.

    If the house was to be jointly owned, both parties would have to agree on the terms of the sale and the division of profits.

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    The distribution of proceeds from the sale will depend on the terms laid out in the divorce agreement.

    • The divorce settlement may dictate an equal split, a percentage-based split, or some other form of distribution.
    • Any deviation from the agreed-upon distribution can lead to legal complications.

    If there's a mortgage on the property:

    • Both parties remain legally responsible for the mortgage unless it's refinanced under one person's name. This is important to remember, especially if one party remains in the home and may struggle with payments.
    • If the mortgage isn't paid off by the sale proceeds, both parties are responsible for settling the remaining debt, as per the terms of the divorce settlement.

    Selling the House & Splitting the Profits in a Divorce in NC

    North Carolina operates under the principle of "equitable distribution" when dividing marital assets in a divorce. This means the division is not always 50/50 but is based on what the court deems as "fair" considering various factors.

    If couples can agree on terms, they might outline specifics regarding the home's sale and the division of proceeds in their divorce agreement. This agreement can specify exact percentages or amounts each party will receive.

    If no such agreement exists or the terms are vague, the court's principles of equitable distribution will apply.

    Before splitting profits, the following costs associated with the sale should be addressed:

    Realtor commissions, Closing costs, Home repairs or improvements made to facilitate the sale.
    Any remaining mortgage balance or home equity loans.

    It's crucial to ensure all mortgages, liens, or other encumbrances on the property are paid off using the sale proceeds before dividing the profits.

    How any remaining mortgage balance after the sale is addressed should be determined by the divorce agreement or, if not specified, through negotiation or court intervention.

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    Once all obligations are settled, the remaining profit can be divided between the spouses as agreed upon or as determined by the court's equitable distribution.

    If one spouse contributed more to the home (e.g., down payment, mortgage payments, or major renovations) and this was outlined in the divorce agreement, they might receive a larger share of the profits.

    3 Tips on Selling Your House During a Divorce in North Carolina

    5 Major Tips Selling Home During Divorce in North Carolina

    1. Hire the Best Divorce Lawyers or Attorneys

    Finding the best online reviews, asking friends and family are good ways to start. Finding the best lawyer can make or break a spouses case.

    If cheating or other detrimental actions were taken by one spouse, the other spouse may want to find the best attorney in the area, depending on the level of severity.

    This could save you thousands of dollars in headaches, unwanted court dates, wasted time, and of course emotional stress. 

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    The right divorce attorney/ lawyers will fight diligently on your behalf, file all necessary paperwork, inform you of any possible evidence they may need to make your case and more. Unfortunely the causes of divorce or separation are wide and many require the expertise of a highly trained divorce lawyer in North Carolina. 

    2. Obtain a Quit Claim Deed from the Spouse ASAP 

    It is extrememly important that once the seperation paperwork has been agreed to and if one spouse gets ownership of the property, then a Quit Claim Deed must be obtained from the spouse that must relinquish ownership.

    A  Quit Claim Deed is simply a form that is filled out and notarized that states said person NO LONGER has an "equitable interest" or "ownership" in the property. 

    This allows the sale of a property to happen without incident. Problems may arise where if this is not signed immediately after the seperation agreement, the spouse who needs to sign can hold up the sale of the property until they sign. 

    This can cause closing issues where one party wants to sell the home but they cannot until the other party agrees to sell or is holding the sale back on purpose.

    Divorce Quit Claim Deed in North Carolina

    3. Sell Your House to an Experienced Cash Home Buyer

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    Selling your home during divorce in North Carolina doen't need to be painful. In fact, here at NC FAIR CASH OFFER we are ready to buy your house fast, with a fair all-cash offer. 

    You may be able to skip the repairs, realtor showings, commissions, fees, and even cleaning the propery altogether. 

    Cash Home Buyers that buys divorce houses are excellent options for those who want to sell the home fast, recieve a decent offer and understand the speed and convenience an Investor has to offer.

    Many times a divorcing couple ends up missing mortgage payments and eventually go into foreclosure. We can make up those back payments and reinstate the mortgage to get the home out of foreclosure. 

    This is extremely helpful if time is VERY limited and you need a sale within days.

    Contact Us Immediately or Fill Out the Form Below to get instant help with your divorce home in North Carolina!

    Looking to sell your house during a seperation or divorce in North Carolina?

    Fill out the short form below to get your 100% FREE No Obligation Cash Offer Today!

    We are industy experts in tough situations... What do you have to lose? 

    We Buy Houses During a Divorce in North Carolina

    Need to sell your home during divorce in North Carolina? We pay cash for divorce houses in the Hubert NC, Morehead City NC, Richlands NC, Wilmington NC, Sneads Ferry NC, Swansboro NC, Raleigh NC, New Bern NC, Emerald Isle NC, Charlotte NC, Hampstead NC, Carolina Beach NC, Beaufort NC, Greenville NC, Fayetteville NC, Jacksonville NC, Holly Ridge NC, Greensboro NC, Surf City NC, Topsail Beach NC, Durham NC, Winston-Salem NC, Surf-City NC and New Bern NC areas.

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    North Carolina Resources:

    (910) 335-4046