Buying out spouse


I am buying my spouse out of our home as part of our divorce. What is typically negotiated in a buyout?

  • Price

  • Deferred Maintenance

  • Can I ask him to pay a portion of customary realtor fees although we are not using a realtor?

  • Since he left I have had to pay for some fairly hefty maintenance items such as the replacement of the HVAC.

  • He moved out two years ago. Since then I have been solely paying the mortgage. Should I have any room to negotiate there? While I’ve been paying the loan the home has appreciated, but he hasn’t contributed to the equity for the past two years.


If you are buying your spouse out of the marital residence, you would owe him one-half the equity in the marital residence at the date of separation, not the current equity amount. Since you have been paying the mortgage solely for the last 2 years, any increase in equity would be yours.

If you and your spouse cannot agree on a value of the house as of the date of separation, then you may need to have it appraised for the value that it was 2 years ago when you separated.

Any future maintenance on the home is not typically included in a buyout since presumably the house would be distributed to you and would become your sole and separate property.

It would not be appropriate to ask your spouse to pay customary realtor fees since no realtor has been involved and the house is not on the market for sale.

For the large maintenance and repairs that you’ve had to make since the date of separation, such as replacing the HVAC, you can ask for a one-half reimbursement. Practically, this would mean that your buy out amount to your spouse would be less the one-half cost you paid to replace the HVAC plus any other major repairs.

Anna Ayscue

Attorney with Rosen Law Firm Cary • Chapel Hill • Durham • Raleigh • Wake Forest

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