Divorce is no longer an exceptional situation these days. In 2017, around 38 percent of closed marriages divorced. In addition to the emotional roller coaster ride experienced by those affected, legal questions also tend to rob people of their sleep. What happens to the jointly acquired household goods? What about maintenance claims? What is to become of the joint house in which the couple lived together and wanted to grow old together? Back to the guide: Divorce & Real Estate.
What will happen to the joint house after the divorce?
Clear conditions regarding the property prevail if the spouses have agreed on the separation of property in a marriage contract. Although the separation of property can save nerves, it is still the exception in Germany today.
Instead, most spouses live on the principle of community of accrued gains. In concrete terms, this means that the spouses share the assets, goods and debts acquired during the marriage. During the divorce, lawyers ensure that neither spouse suffers any financial disadvantage from the years of marriage.
What happens to property that can’t be easily divided?
Real estate holds enormous potential for conflict during divorce because it cannot simply be divided.
Living separately, but still under the same roof: Hardly any phase is more emotionally upsetting and difficult than the fresh separation and the phase in which both still live in the same property.
Those who suddenly find themselves living separately must note that the departure of one of the partners does not change the ownership of the property. Joint property remains joint property, while sole property remains in the hands of the sole owner. The one who moves out can even claim compensation for use from the other partner. This is based on the rental conditions of the locality.
The case that the property was already owned by one of the spouses before the marriage is rarely the case in Germany.
Instead, both spouses are usually legal owners of the house. In this case, the spouses cannot demand that the other move out. If both are emotionally attached to the house and property and neither wants to leave the four walls permanently, this can develop into a stressful dispute.
Who is allowed to stay in the apartment when separated?
Possible solutions for heirs
The following possible solutions are available in this situation:
- The house is signed over to one of the spouses before the divorce. The latter pays the other spouse
- The house is sold during or after the divorce, the amount is divided
- If an agreement is not possible, a partial auction of the house can be applied for.
- The house will be divided (through conversion measures) into condominiums
- The house remains in the possession of the spouses and is rented out
Keeping the property together
The thought of continuing to own the property may seem tempting, but it carries a huge disadvantage. It doesn’t matter whether the property is converted to include two condominiums or the spouses rent out the house: Both mean that the couple will be connected in the future.
Spouse wants to continue living in the house?
If one of the two wishes to continue living in the acquired house, this partner is obliged to pay the other partner half of the value of the house. This often presents a great difficulty financially for those involved. Furthermore, the person who wishes to remain living in the property in the future must check their finances. In addition to paying off the spouse, there are additional costs associated with taxes, alimony, and utilities. Any repair costs for the property must also be taken into account.
It is not always possible for the individual spouses to meet these high expenses.
Selling the house is often the only sensible solution if both spouses want to leave the marriage without financial damage. After the sale of the house, the proceeds of the sold property can be divided between the two.
Disputes are prevented, as neither of them feels disadvantaged vis-à-vis the ex-partner. In addition, joint obligations, such as the loan that was signed by both of them for the purchase of the house, expire with this.
It should be noted that the sale of the joint property can only take place jointly. Only with the mutual consent of both can the house be sold to a third party.
By the way, you do not have to wait until you have filed for divorce to sell the property; you can already do so after the separation.
The procedure for selling a house before divorce
Experience shows that loose promises are often not kept when it comes to emotional matters. If it has been jointly decided that the house will be sold, it makes sense for the spouses to agree on specific dates for vacating the house. This ensures that the house will be empty at the necessary time.
In addition, it is in the best interest of both if a minimum sale price is set for the home.
The next step is to create an energy certificate for the property. This is a prerequisite for the sale of the property. Afterwards, the real estate agent can already be contacted. He can inform the spouses about the asking price and explain all further steps.
We would also be happy to advise you personally on your property. Please contact us.
Divorce: guide, help and tips
Divorce is complex, it’s true. But you are not alone! Many let themselves separate and in fact, a large part always finds a good solution. Only a small part ends in a quarrel. So that you can prepare well, you will find here our small guides and tips on divorce, family, money and real estate.