Selling the marital home


#1

I reside in the marital home where we are both on the deed, and the mortgage is in solely my name. Our absolute divorce will be final this month, and we do not have a signed separation agree or any ED claims filed. The unsigned, draft agreement contains a clause stating that I will be buying him out of his share of equity at $14,000, as I had planned to stay in this home. The terms of the this agreement were that I would give him the money once the agreement was signed, and he would then execute the necessary documents to sign over the deed to me. We are still in disagreement about other parts of this agreement, which is why we’ve not signed it.

Someone has offered to buy the home and we are awaiting acceptance of a counter-offer. We both signed the listing agreement and authorized the realtor to issue the counter-offer. The realtor sent us both a “net sheet” showing how much the sell will net after commission fees, closing costs, etc. The realtor has also communicated to both of us several times that as an agent for both of us, that he can only assert as to what monies will be provided to us at closing, and that any arrangments we have as to how to distribute that money among ourselves due to the divorce is up to us. I think he’s covered his bases well here.

My stbx communicated to the realtor that he doesn’t care what we sell the house for because he is getting his $14,000 regardless of the price at which I choose to sell it, and my realtor relayed this back to me.

Two questions:
1 - Am I legally required to communicate to him that I do not plan to honor the buy-out clause of our unsigned agreement? (knowing that I am most likely going to re-negotiate to have the buy-out clause removed)?

2 - If the absolute divorce takes place prior to the closing date and no signed agreement is in place between us, am I required to give him half of the proceeds in absence of a signed agreement?


#2

The unsigned agreement is not binding and you have no obligation connected to it.

Upon sale without an agreement to the contrary the proceeds will be issued to you jointly.


#3

This is obviously not a legal opinion, just a personal observation. I don’t see your stbx’ comment to the realtor as underhanded. In his mind, he has already sold the house to you. It sounds like he is following your lead on the negotiation of a price that you are subsequently selling it for. I assume the figure in the draft agreement is something you discussed and were amenable to. As stated, you are not legally bound to honor it, but it is likely that your stbx will feel slighted. If he came up with the counter offer and/or had to persuade you to consider one, that’s different (again, not legally, just in how it is likely to be perceived).