Same-Sex Divorce and the House: 5 Things to Consider

It’s hard to believe it’s been six years since gay marriage became legal in the USA. But, with marriage—whether it’s a heterosexual or same-sex couple. There is a high percentage that ends up in divorce. Every divorce is unique, but same-sex divorce has similarities and differences from a divorce between a man and a woman.
The emotional part of same-sex divorce is like every divorce. Heartbreaking, painful, depressing, scary, and confusing. There can also be intense feelings of anger, resentment, and bitterness.

 But what about the legal aspects of same-sex divorce?

Specifically when it comes to the shared marital home. Before same-sex marriage laws went into effect, states were left to create their own laws. Which included laws for Civil Unions or Domestic Partnerships.

For same-sex divorce advice, I would recommend talking to a divorce attorney. That isn’t my area of expertise. When it comes to same-sex divorce and the house, here are some things to consider and tips to making sure it’s fair and amicable:

Things to consider in same-sex divorce

  1. When I have a client who is going through a same-sex divorce, I always recommend pulling the Title (or Deed) to verify ownership of the property. A former partner could still have an ownership or a stake in the equity.

  2. A divorce attorney or divorce mediator, well-versed in the current statutes of same-sex divorce. Needs to be involved in all aspects of the divorce. Especially the family home, prior to selling if possible. I work with a team of divorce-related professionals and can point you in the right direction.

  3. As with all divorcing couples, I suggest meeting in person or virtually. This way we can discuss the process and how I work as a neutral real estate expert. In order to ward off future conflict, I encourage the divorcing spouses to sign an Addendum to the Property Listing Agreement. The Addendum includes a listing timeline (when to lower the price and by what percentage). The dollar amount they are willing to accept, and even when they are willing to have showings. The Addendum is to provide structure and help couples think about the process in advance to get on the same page, regardless of personal feelings. It also helps speed up the process. Remember, as a real estate agent and CDRE (Certified Divorce Real Expert), I am a neutral third party. I do not take sides. I work to get the house sold for the most amount of money in the lease amount of time.

  4. If one person wants to stay at the home, there are many factors that come into play and need to be addressed. For example, in order to figure out the market value of the home. Simply looking at comps isn’t enough nor is it an outdated appraisal. I often suggest that divorcing spouses have an inspection, and pre-list to determine any issues that may come up in a buyer’s inspection. These issues can be addressed and noted that the future listing price reflects is based on this discovery. This could change the dynamics of splitting marital assets.

  5. In a same-sex divorce, do not assume that proceeds from the sale of the home will be a non-issue. Depending on how many layers of legalities and rights to the property there are, this could get complicated. It’s a discussion best suited for each party’s divorce attorney, and/or a divorce mediator.


In closing, divorce is painful, and the legal aspect of it is stressful. It’s the same level of stress whether you are a heterosexual couple going through a divorce or a gay couple going through a same-sex divorce. I’ve been a real estate agent for over 17 years, and a Certified Divorce Real Estate Expert. I am happy to meet with you and have a consultation about your same-sex divorce and your home.