couple dividing house in divorce lawyer office

What to Do With Your House in a Divorce

Navigating divorce and selling a home are probably two of the most stressful life events.  Going through the two at the same time creates a confusing, emotional storm to be reckoned with.  For many, real estate is their highest value asset, and each partner feels that they contributed to the purchase of the home — even if one did so more than the other.  It is only natural that each spouse wants to receive his or her fair share of the marital home. Who gets the house in a divorce? Who gets to stay? How does one go about real estate division?  This will be one of the biggest property hurdles you will have to face in your life, but if you take into consideration all the different factors, you will be fully equipped to make the best, informed decision for yourself.

Who Keeps the House in a Divorce?

Deciding to sell the marital home offers a clean break for a divorcing couple, as it provides each party with an even amount of cash to start over, invest in a new house and start over again.  All in all, it is important to first take into consideration the financial reasons for selling the marital home.  A house that made financial sense as a married couple will often have trouble translating into an affordable home on a single income after a divorce is final.  While mounting a ‘For Sale’ sign in front of the house may wield unwelcome questions from nosy neighbors about your divorce proceedings, the most straightforward solution may be to sell the home.  Not only does the division of your marital assets become clearer after you sold the house, but it also provides a fair share of the profits from the deal for each party.

When Selling the Marital Home is Not the Right Decision

There may be also instances in which selling the house in a divorce is not the right decision for a divorcing couple. In that situation, the big question that results is:

Who gets to stay in the house?

Especially when kids are involved, parents tend to try to keep the home so as to keep the transition from the divorce as smooth as possible.  There are three scenarios that could occur at this stage. To begin, one spouse could buy out the other.  An appraisal of the property would be performed so as to determine its current market value.  Afterward, one party would buy out the other in cash and transfer the deed to sole ownership of the paying spouse.  It is important to note that when going with this option, you must ensure you have the financial means to not only buy out your partner but to pay legal fees and costs.  Another option is if the couple agrees to delay the sale, and that one parent might stay in the home until the children are at least eighteen years old — after which the home would then be sold, with the former spouses splitting the proceeds of the sale.  The final scenario is if you and your partner come to a decision that one spouse can keep the house without having to participate in a buyout and pay their partner. In this case, ensure that all ownership documents get signed, as there is no telling if the partner will change their mind down the line, and that the split will remain amicable.

Consider the emotional aspects of real estate.

A factor that not a lot of divorcing couples think about enough is the emotional side of real estate.  Imagine a scenario in which you and your spouse had come to an agreement that you can stay in the family home with the children.  Your spouse has already signed over the ownership documents to you and has found another home to reside in. With the departure of your spouse, the once happy home that you fought for can quickly become unpleasant to live in.  Memories of better times can taint the comfort you had once experienced in your house. This happens to a lot more clients than people think, and sooner or later, people come to discover perhaps keeping the house was not all it was cracked up to be.

Try your best to come to a decision out of court.

Ultimately, the goal is that you have taken all the different factors and made the best decision for you and your family.  However, if both parties cannot come to an agreement out of court, a family law judge will decide for you.  This is rarely a pleasant experience, as the judge rarely decides as either party would like.  Once a couple submits their property dispute to the court, Illinois divorce law will be used to divide the marital property amongst the spouses.  In that case, make sure you hire a trusted and experienced divorce trustworthy lawyer who will help divide your marital assets between the two of you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

If you are facing a divorce and wonder how your home or other marital property will be divided and need more information,
feel free to download our helpful Property Division Guide.

Get Advice About Your Marital Home from a Chicago Divorce Attorney

Anderson and Boback is a trusted divorce law firm in Chicago, with extensive experience with the wide range of issues involving divorce and real estate, especially the marital home. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and learn more about property division and dealing with issues surrounding your house in a divorce.

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