How To Sell A House During Divorce in Louisiana

If you’re facing divorce in Louisiana, you may have questions about what will happen to your house or when you can sell it, both during and after the state will issue the divorce decree. The process can be complicated, costly, and stressful for all involved, particularly when major shared assets like homes and child custody are involved.

However, by taking the right steps and reviewing state divorce laws, you can protect yourself and make the process a little easier. You can also reduce those costly attorney bills by already knowing this information and not having to pay him or her to learn it. A home sale can also be very stressful for both the buyer and the seller.

Here is everything you’ll need to know about how to sell a home in Louisiana during divorce process.

  • Find A Divorce Attorney in Louisiana
    • Although retaining divorce lawyers is not required in Louisiana, an experienced divorce lawyer that has worked hundreds of cased will know every article of the state divorce law, make sure the divorce papers are filed properly, and do their best to make sure you leave with everything you deserve. They provide a valuable service and will help you handle things as quickly as the law book allows.
    • If you choose not to get an attorney for your divorce and your spouse uses one, you could be at a significant disadvantage in divorce court. Your friends or coworkers may have offered you advice but it might be inaccurate or not relevant to Louisiana, as each state has its own divorce law. A good divorce lawyer will make it their business to make sure you’re taken care of during the case.
  • Determine Who Owns The Real Estate
    • Louisiana is a community property state, which means that all “marital assets” are divided equally as part of a divorce settlement, meaning that a house purchased after the marriage belongs to both you and your spouse. If it was bought before the marriage or inherited as part of a deceased relative’s estate, it belongs exclusively to the person who bought it and is considered personal property.
    • This division of marital property is absolute under state law. Unlike some other states, the difference in Louisiana is that neither party’s marital behavior, including affairs, alleged spousal abuse, or other factors during the marriage nor the length of the marriage before the divorce is taken into account when dividing the property.
  • Decide How You Want to Sell The Property
    • If the marital house belongs to both parties, a real estate agent can sell the house and divide the proceeds. If both spouses can’t agree on a realtor to handle the sale, one can be appointed as a seller by the divorce court. This makes a sale easier to obtain but will involve additional costs for the seller.
    • Another choice is to sell the house independently in a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) transaction. Being a seller yourself will require more work, like dealing with buyers individually, than hiring a realtor but will have fewer seller fees.
    • The third of these options is to become a seller to a local cash home buyer, which many people consider the easiest option to sell their home. A local company like JiT Home Buyers will buy houses as-is without extra fees and will work to make it as easy as possible for the seller. The cash from the sale can then be immediately split between you and your spouse.
  • Sell The House
    • The method chosen during the previous step will determine how quickly the house can be sold. A realtor may get you the highest sale price but after related fees and possible maintenance costs incurred while the house awaits a buyer, the sale may not get you the most money. Acting as your own seller can be time-consuming and expensive. In addition, using a local cash home buyer allows the least amount of contact between the former couple while still being able to sell their former home.
  • Divide the Proceeds from the Sale
    • As Louisiana is not an equitable distribution state, both parties acting as sellers will split the money from the sale evenly. Any outstanding property taxes, realtor fees (if any), and outstanding debts like mortgages would be paid from the sale before the money is distributed. If you sell the house for $250,000 and has $50,000 left on the mortgage, the parties would split $200,000 and each seller would receive $100,000 as part of the sale.

There are several possibilities in Louisiana. The house can be given to either party, split between the two, or sold with the profits being distributed equally. If both parties can reach a signed decision, that specific arrangement will be honored by the divorce court.

If no deal is reached or you two don’t believe you can communicate while still being courteous, the judge will decide whether you should become a seller or if one spouse will keep the home. The court will likely take custody into consideration and the spouse who spends the most time with the children could be given the house.

house divorce in Louisiana

It depends. If you and your spouse can negotiate a deal to sell before the divorce and agree on all the details like how you’re going to sell it and for how much, it could make the community property part of the divorce easier on both of you. If you agree on the distribution of assets, including plans to sell the home, entirely before the trial begins, that’s called an uncontested divorce.

However, if you can’t reach an agreement, the judge may order you both to sell the house and split the money. The only benefit to becoming a seller after the divorce would be that whoever gets the house could sell it above market value, although this is rather unlikely, and would not have to share the profits from the sale with the spouse.

Under Louisiana law, the court can decide which spouse gets to live in the marital home until the divorce is resolved. Although it isn’t required, the judge can also rule that whoever gets the home must pay “fair market rent” to the other person.

Rental payments are generally only made when the non-occupying spouse must pay rent to reside in a separate house, if they are losing out on potential rental income they would have received if both parties had agreed to rent the home, and/or is responsible for paying the house’s mortgage.

The judge may also consider other factors as well. For example, a stay-at-home parent who needed time to find a job might be granted exclusive use of the house. If there is a large income disparity, like a divorce between a doctor and a cashier, the spouse with the lesser income would likely get to stay in the home while the divorce is ongoing.

Co-Own The Property

One alternative to becoming a seller is to continue co-owning the home. If both parties can reach an agreement, they can rent out the property and split the rental income minus any maintenance costs like repairing a broken pipe or buying a new refrigerator. If it’s a vacation home or another type of property, they could both agree to take turns using it for several months at a time. Any mortgage payments owed would be split 50-50 and there would be no need for a sale.

Buy Out The Other Spouse

Let’s say the home has a value of $250,000. If one spouse has $125,000 in cash, they could simply give that money to the other party and purchase their share of the home. If the spouse doesn’t have that much cash, they could visit a lender to refinance the house to be in their name only and/or take out a second mortgage and use that cash to pay the other party for their half.

Divide the Marital Assets

The final option is to change the asset distribution so that whoever doesn’t get the house gets marital assets of equal value. For example, imagine a family has three properties: a main home worth $150,000 and two mobile homes worth $50,000 each being used as rentals. One party would get the title deed to the marital home and the other would get the title to both of the marital mobile homes owned plus $50,000 worth of other assets or cash that would make the distribution even.

If you have questions that need to be answered after going through the FAQs, please consult a qualified real estate lawyer in Louisiana before proceeding.

Can I sell the house before the divorce is final?

Yes, if you and your spouse can reach an agreement to sell the house and divide the cash from the sale, you can sell the house at any time. If not, you’ll have to wait to sell until ownership is assigned by the divorce court as part of the proceedings, unless the judge orders a sale as a condition of granting the divorce.

Is Louisiana a 50-50 divorce state?

Yes, Louisiana is a 50-50 divorce state, also known as a community property state. This means that all marital property is divided equally between the two parties, regardless of the reason for the divorce. However, there is an exception if an agreement can be reached between the two parties to divide the property differently. If the two of you agree to split the property 75-25 or one spouse receives the home and the other receives everything else of value, the court will honor that decision.

How does capital gains tax work in a divorce?

The Capital Gains Tax for selling a house during a divorce only has to be paid in certain circumstances. You’ll both be required to put the sale on your returns but the first $250,000 of the sale price on each return won’t count as taxable income, provided that you’ve lived there for two of the past five years.

If you sell the house for less than $500,000, neither of you will be required to pay Capital Gains Tax. The tax also only applies to “primary residences”, which means the seller of a vacation home will not have to pay the tax.

Can I force my ex to sell the house after the divorce?

In some cases, yes, it can be possible to force a sale. If the court granted co-ownership over the house during the divorce or you agreed beforehand to co-own the home but you wanted to sell while your former spouse wanted to wait before making a sale, a partition lawsuit could force a sale.

Generally, you’ll need a good reason to present to the court, like demonstrating to the court that not becoming a seller and continuing to co-own the home would be too expensive or cause undue financial hardship, which could lead to the house going into foreclosure. If your case is successful, the judge will order a sale.

How do I sell my house if one partner refuses?

If you want to become a seller and your spouse refuses, you and your divorce attorney can fight for it in court. After the divorce is finished, you can file a partition lawsuit as mentioned above and explain to the court why becoming a seller would be beneficial or even essential to you.

Although it will depend on your situation, finding a local home cash buyer will almost always be the easiest way. The company will make an offer to buy the house as-is for cash, which avoids realtor fees, seller fees, staging costs, maintenance or upkeep costs, and most other expenses that would be involved if you sold another way. The company will have completed many house sales and will make sure that you can sell your home as quickly as possible on your own terms.

Cash For Your House in Foreclosure Louisiana

If this doesn’t answer all of your questions, contacting an honest professional like JiT Home Buyers can be a great help. The process is hassle-free for the seller and they will give you cash for your home as-is, with or without furniture. You can also avoid paying for costly repairs that would be needed for keeping the house sell-able while looking for a buyer.

These findings apply to all cities in Louisiana including: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Metairie, Marrero, Kenner, Lake Charles, Lafayette, and more!

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