Can My Spouse Sell Our House Without My Consent During Divorce in Missouri?

Divorce proceedings can be emotionally and financially challenging, and one of the most significant concerns for couples going through a divorce is the division of property. In Missouri, understanding the legal rights and implications of property ownership during divorce is crucial to protect your interests. Below we look at what happens when your spouse tries to sell your house during divorce.

What Is Joint Ownership During Divorce in Missouri?

In Missouri, joint ownership during divorce refers to the situation where spouses jointly own property, assets, or debts acquired during their marriage. Missouri follows equitable distribution laws, meaning that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, in divorce proceedings.

Joint ownership typically involves both spouses sharing ownership rights and responsibilities, and during divorce, the court may determine how to fairly divide jointly owned assets and debts between the spouses. This process often involves assessing each asset’s value, considering contributions made by each spouse and aiming for an equitable distribution that considers the circumstances of the marriage.

2 Types of Property Ownership in Missouri

1. Joint Tenants

In Joint Tenancy, both spouses have an undivided interest in the property. This means that they share equal ownership rights, and if one spouse tries to sell the property without the other’s consent, it would be considered unauthorized and potentially illegal.

During divorce, the court may step in to ensure fair division of jointly owned property, taking into account factors such as contributions to the property’s acquisition and financial needs of each spouse.

2. Tenants in Common

Tenancy in Common allows for distinct shares of ownership between spouses. This means that one spouse may have a larger share of the property than the other. In such cases, the spouse with the larger share may have more control over the property, including the ability to sell it without the consent of the other spouse.

However, the court may still have jurisdiction over the property division during divorce and can intervene to ensure fairness and equitable distribution.

Missouri Legal Requirements for Selling Jointly Owned Property During Divorce

To sell jointly owned property during divorce in Missouri, certain legal procedures must be followed. Understanding these requirements is crucial to protect your rights and avoid any legal complications. Here are five key legal requirements to keep in mind:

  1. Obtaining the Consent of Both Spouses: Both spouses must agree to the sale of the property. Without consent from both parties, any attempted sale may be considered unauthorized and can lead to legal consequences.
  2. Providing Full Disclosure: Both spouses must provide full and accurate information about the property’s value, condition, and any potential encumbrances, such as liens or mortgages. This ensures transparency and fairness in the sale process.
  3. Complying with Court Orders: If the court has issued any orders regarding the property division, such as temporary restraining orders or injunctions, it is essential to comply with them. Failure to do so can result in legal repercussions.
  4. Fair Market Value: The property must be sold at fair market value to ensure equitable distribution of assets. Selling the property significantly below its market value may be considered an attempt to deprive the other spouse of their fair share.
  5. Proper Documentation: All necessary legal documents, such as the deed, must be prepared and executed correctly. It is advisable to seek legal advice to ensure compliance with all legal requirements.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

During divorce, it is crucial to distinguish between marital property and separate property. Marital property refers to assets acquired during the marriage, while separate property encompasses assets obtained before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts specifically designated as separate.

What Is Marital Property?

Marital property includes assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of who holds the legal title. This can include the marital home, vehicles, bank accounts, investments, and other properties obtained during the marriage. In Missouri, marital property is subject to equitable distribution, meaning it will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally between the spouses.

What Is Separate Property?

Separate property consists of assets that one spouse owned before the marriage or acquired during the marriage through inheritance or gifts specifically designated as separate property. Separate property generally remains with the owning spouse and is not subject to division during divorce.

However, there are scenarios where separate property can become marital property, such as if it is commingled with marital assets or used for the benefit of the marriage.

Rights and Protections Against Unauthorized Sale

As a spouse going through a divorce, you have legal rights and protections against unauthorized sale of jointly owned property. If your spouse attempts to sell the property without your consent, there are steps you can take to protect your interests:

  1. Consult an Attorney: Seek legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney who specializes in property division. They can guide you on the appropriate legal actions to take and protect your rights.
  2. File a Motion with the Court: If your spouse tries to sell the property without your consent, you can file a motion with the court requesting an injunction to prevent the sale. This will ensure that the property remains intact until the court determines its division.
  3. Request a Partition Action: If you and your spouse cannot agree on the sale or division of the property, you can request a partition action. This legal action allows the court to divide the property or force a sale, ensuring both parties receive their fair share.
  4. Protect Your Interest: Take steps to protect your interest in the property, such as monitoring property records for any unauthorized transactions or changes in ownership. Document any attempts by your spouse to sell the property without your consent, as this can be valuable evidence in court.

Preventative Measures and Agreements

To prevent unauthorized sale of jointly owned property during divorce, you can take several preventative measures:

  1. Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement: Consider entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities regarding property division in the event of a divorce. This agreement can provide clarity and protect your interests.
  2. Monitoring Property Records: Stay vigilant by monitoring property records regularly. This can help you detect any unauthorized changes or transactions related to the jointly owned property.
  3. Power of Attorney: Granting a power of attorney to a trusted individual can provide an additional layer of protection. This person can act on your behalf and prevent any unauthorized sale or transfer of the property during the divorce process.
  4. Temporary Restraining Order: If you suspect that your spouse may attempt to sell the property without your consent, you can seek a temporary restraining order from the court. This will prohibit the sale of the property until the divorce proceedings are finalized.

Can I Legally Sell My House As-Is for Cash During Divorce?

During divorce, selling your house as-is for cash may be a viable option. Cash home sales involve selling your property directly to a real estate investor or cash buyer without the need for repairs or renovations. In Missouri, you can legally sell your house as-is for cash during divorce, provided all legal requirements are met.

A cash home sale is a transaction where a buyer purchases your property with cash, eliminating the need for traditional financing. This allows for a quicker sale and may be preferable during divorce when time is of the essence.

A cash home sale is legal during a divorce because it involves a voluntary agreement between the seller and the buyer. As long as both spouses consent to the sale and the necessary legal procedures are followed, selling your house for cash can be a viable option.

What Are the Benefits of a Cash Home Sale During Divorce?

Selling your house for cash during divorce offers several benefits:

  1. Quick Sale: Cash home sales often close faster than traditional sales, allowing you to finalize the property division and move forward with your life sooner.
  2. Avoiding Repairs: Selling your house as-is means you don’t have to spend time or money on repairs or renovations. This can be particularly advantageous during divorce when you may want to minimize the stress and financial burden.
  3. Certainty of Sale: Cash buyers provide a guaranteed sale, eliminating the risk of a deal falling through due to financing issues. This certainty can provide peace of mind during the divorce process.
  4. Streamlined Process: Cash home sales involve fewer parties and simplified paperwork, making the overall process more straightforward and efficient.

Sell Your House Fast in St. Louis, Missouri

If you need to sell your house fast but don’t want the hassle of a traditional home sale, contact Klamen Real Estate Buyers. We buy houses as-is. No repairs are needed. Avoid closing costs and realtor commissions. Close in as little as seven days. Call 314-897-4757 and get a fast cash offer from our local home buyers in Missouri.