Can You Sell Your House When Separating in Edmonton?

You’re trying to make sense of your separation, and on top of that, the house feels like an anchor, holding you back. You’re thinking, “If only I could sell it quickly, I could move on, free and unburdened.”

But the question swirls in your mind. 

Can I sell my house when separating in Edmonton? Yes, you can sell your house. But it’s not as simple as putting a sign on the lawn. There are laws, agreements, and a process to follow.

You’re not alone in feeling this way. Many face the same dilemma during separation. The legalities, the negotiations with your soon-to-be ex, it all seems so overwhelming.

Let’s walk through this together. By this end, you’ll have a clearer path to selling your Edmonton home and confidently stepping into your new life. 

1. Laws and Regulations Governing Property Sale During Separation

When you’re in the middle of a separation in Edmonton, thinking about selling your house brings emotions and questions. It’s important to start with understanding the laws that guide this process.

The Matrimonial Property Act and Family Property Act in Alberta are your guidebooks here. These laws clarify that when a married couple separates, their assets, including the house, should be divided fairly or equally.

But what does this mean for you?

You should split the proceeds fairly if you and your spouse agree to sell the house. This is where a family lawyer is a great help. They will guide you through the legal nuances and protect your rights during separation.

Remember, every situation is unique; sometimes, what’s ‘fair’ might not mean a 50-50 split. Factors like who paid the mortgage payments or contributed more to the house come into play.

2. Selling the Property Before Divorce Finalization

Let’s talk about selling your home before your divorce is finalized. This is a common route for many in the throes of separation.

It involves a delicate process, starting with clear communication with your soon-to-be ex-partner. Agreeing to sell the house requires both of you to be on the same page, and this is where having a separation agreement comes in.

A separation agreement is a document that outlines how you’ll handle assets and debts during your separation. It’s best created with the help of a divorce mediator or lawyer.

These pros will explain the legal implications of selling your home before the divorce is finalized. They will help you understand how the sale impacts divorce application, especially how other assets or debts are divided.

Once the agreement to sell is in place, the next step is deciding how to divide the sale proceeds. Consider factors like each partner’s contribution to the mortgage, renovations, or maintenance.

This ensures that decisions made about the proceeds are fair and informed.

The real estate market in Edmonton is unpredictable. Work with a real estate agent who understands the nuances of selling during a separation. They will advise you on:

  • Getting your house in showroom condition
  • Suggest the right sale price based on current market trends
  • And guide you through the entire sale process.

3. Selling the Property After Divorce

Selling after finalizing your divorce differs from selling your house before divorce. It’s a fresh chapter, but it still has its considerations. Let’s break this down into simpler terms.

The division of sale proceeds from your property often relies on what’s outlined in your divorce settlement after the divorce. If you and your ex-partner have reached a mutual agreement during the divorce proceedings, that’s great!

This agreement should clearly state how you’ll divide the proceeds from the sale of your house. But sometimes, reaching this agreement isn’t easy, and that’s where a divorce lawyer helps.

They provide legal advice to ensure that both parties make informed decisions that are fair and equitable. If there’s no prior agreement in place, things can get a bit more complex.

This is where the court helps decide how to divide the sale proceeds. The court will look at various factors, such as:

  • The length of your marriage
  • Your contributions toward mortgage payments
  • And other financial investments in the property.

The goal here is to divide the assets in a way that’s fair to both parties involved.

Implications of Not Being Able to Sell Until Post-Divorce

Sometimes, selling the property during the separation process isn’t workable. When this happens, you might find yourself needing to sell post-divorce.

This situation has different implications for the division of assets and financial settlements.

In cases where you haven’t sold by the time the divorce is finalized, the division of assets looks differently than initially planned. This means re-evaluating the financial settlements that were discussed during the separation process.

The court’s role here is to ensure an equitable distribution of assets. They’ll try to divide things fairly, though not necessarily equally.

Thus, it’s important to recognize that the timing of the sale directly impacts the overall financial outcome for both parties.

For instance, if the real estate market has shifted significantly since the separation, this impacts the sale prices. Consequently, the sale proceeds you and your ex-partner receive will also be affected.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m here to help clear things up for you. Let’s dive into some of the common questions I get asked as a real estate agent, especially when handling property during a divorce. 

1. If There’s an Outstanding Mortgage on The Property, How Is It Handled During The Sale Process in The Context of a Divorce?

When selling with an outstanding mortgage, the first thing to know is that the remaining mortgage must be paid off from the sale proceeds. It’s like closing one chapter before you can start the new one. Here’s how it generally works:

When your house sells, the money you get first pays off the remaining mortgage. Think of it as settling up with the bank before you, and your ex-spouse divide what’s left.

After paying off the mortgage, the next step is to split the remaining money. The way this split happens depends on what you both agree on or what’s decided legally if you can’t agree.

This is where terms like ‘marital property’ and ‘property division’ come in.

The condition of your house and the timing of the sale (like if it’s during slower winter sales in Edmonton) affect how much money you get from the sale. This impacts how much is left after paying off the mortgage.

2. Who Is Responsible for Covering The Costs Associated with Selling The Property, Like Real Estate Agent Fees and Closing Costs?

When you sell a house, especially during a divorce, there are costs like real estate agent fees and closing costs. Usually, you and your ex-spouse will split these costs.

This is part of the property settlement during your divorce. Think of it as sharing the load so it’s fair for both of you.

It’s important to discuss who pays what as part of your property division discussions. This might depend on your financial position.

Sometimes, one spouse might agree to take on more costs, especially if they’re in a stronger financial situation. Remember, the condition of the sale matters.

Making your house look its best (like home staging or repairs) affects the sales proceeds. These costs can be factored into how you divide the overall profits.

3. Can One Spouse Buy Out The Other’s Interest in The Property Instead of Selling It During The Separation?

Absolutely, one spouse can buy out the other’s interest. You’ll need a property appraisal to determine your house’s fair market value.

This helps you both know how much one spouse should pay the other. The buyout amount is usually half the house’s value, but it varies.

For example, if there’s still a mortgage, the amount owed on the mortgage gets subtracted from the house’s value first. The spouse who buys out the other gets what’s called ‘exclusive possession’ of the house.

This means they own it completely and can make decisions about the property without consent from the other.

Moving Forward Together

Selling a home during or after a divorce is hard, but you’ll get to close one chapter and start another. As Edmonton’s favourite realtor®, Amrit Hunjan, I’m here to guide you through the sale of your home and support you in this transition.

You might have many questions and uncertainties about this process. That’s completely normal. What’s important is that you don’t have to navigate this journey alone.

So, if you’re in this situation and looking for guidance or need someone to help you understand your options, feel free to contact me, Amrit Hunjan.

Together, we can ensure that this important decision is made with care, understanding, and a focus on what’s best for you in this new chapter of your life. 

Picture of Amrit Hunjan

Amrit Hunjan

Founder/Realtor® Team Lead/CIR REALTY Edmonton Owner

I’m Amrit Hunjan, and I specialize in helping people buy and sell homes, backed by my experience in house construction and civil engineering. I love real estate and have been recognized for my work with awards. Whether you’re looking to move in or out, I’m here to guide you, particularly in Edmonton where I’m based.


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