Dealing with the division of assets during a divorce is always challenging, especially when one partner is unwilling to cooperate.
If you’re hoping to sell a property you once shared, but your partner is refusing to sell, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the laws in Texas so you can make a plan of action. Here’s how to sell a house when one partner refuses.
The Division of Assets in a Texas Divorce
In the state of Texas, any asset acquired during the marriage is considered community property. This means the asset is subject to a 50/50 division between both spouses in the event of a divorce. Depending on the circumstances, this could include physical property such as a house or other real estate, as well as any financial assets such as bank accounts and investments.
The asset division process largely depends on whether the divorce is contested or uncontested.
- In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree to a settlement, and the court will typically divide the assets per the agreement.
- In a contested divorce, however, the court may need to step in and determine how the assets should be divided.
If there is a dispute involving the sale of your home, it’s best to try to understand why your spouse is refusing to sell the house. Then, you can decide on the best course of action to resolve the situation.
Negotiating a Property Settlement
If your partner is simply trying to retain control over an asset they feel entitled to, you could negotiate an agreement that allows each of you to benefit.
When the other spouse’s reluctance is due to sentimental reasons or to maintain their lifestyle, a buyout arrangement is often the best way to resolve the situation. The spouse who wants to keep the home can purchase the other’s portion of ownership of the property, usually by taking out a loan or refinancing.
In other words, a buyout agreement would allow your spouse to buy your share of the home. While not quite akin to selling the house on the open market, this would enable you to move on with your life and receive a financial benefit from the sale.
At the same time, your spouse would retain control of the home, allowing them to keep the asset they are attached to.
Depending on the situation, you may also be able to negotiate an “offset” agreement. This resolution is a type of trade-off where one spouse gives up the rights to an asset in exchange for something else of equal value.
For example, you might give up your right to the house in exchange for your spouse’s share of a bank account or other financial asset. This arrangement can be especially useful when one party wishes to keep the house, but both parties have different ideas about how other assets should be divided.
Court-Ordered Sale or Transfer
If you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse about whether to sell the house, it may be necessary to take the issue before a judge.
Under Texas law, the court could force a sale of the marital home, with the proceeds being divided evenly between you and your spouse. However, the judge may also issue a court order to award the home to one spouse in lieu of other assets, essentially forcing the other spouse to transfer ownership.
That’s why going through the court system isn’t always the most favorable course of action. Going this route removes your ability to negotiate a settlement on your terms, and the judge could award the home to your spouse, removing the option of selling it.
Working with a family law attorney, you can present the court with specific requests to support your side of the situation. However, the judge ultimately has the final say. To give you the best chance of receiving a favorable outcome, it is best to work with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate legal proceedings and protect your rights.
Need Additional Help with How to Sell a House When One Partner Refuses?
Divorcing spouses in Texas have a right to be awarded their fair share of any property acquired during the marriage. However, subjective factors such as who has been living in the home or who holds sentimental attachments to assets can complicate the issue.
Everyone has a different idea of what is fair during the legal divorce process, so it’s crucial to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you reach a settlement in your best interests.
At Parker & Aguilar, we know how important it is that you have a say in how your assets are divided during a divorce. As skilled negotiators, we will work diligently to help you reach a settlement that meets the needs of both parties.
If negotiations prove unsuccessful, however, we have the experience to advocate for your rights in court.
We currently support clients in Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, and Harris County. If you live in one of these counties, contact us to schedule a consultation about your situation. We’ll help you find answers to your specific concern about how to sell a house when one partner refuses.
You can reach our team of local family law attorneys at 979-267-7660 (Angleton office) or 281-944-5485 (Sugar Land office). Discover how our family law practice can help you resolve a property dispute during a divorce.