6 Questions to Ask About Your Marital Home During an Illinois Divorce
Property division is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce, particularly when it comes to the family home. You and your spouse will need to determine who will own your marital home, and many factors may come into play when making that decision. To help you decide what to do with the family home in your divorce, you can ask yourself the following questions:
Is the Home Separate or Marital Property?
In many situations, a husband and wife will purchase a home together after they have gotten married. If this is the case, the home is marital property, and it must therefore be included in the property division process during divorce. Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means the home’s equity is subject to being divided between spouses. In some cases, one spouse will keep the home, while the other will receive other property of similar value. In other cases, the home may be sold, and the proceeds will be divided between the spouses.
If one spouse owned a home before getting married, it will likely be considered separate property and may not be subject to Illinois’ property division rules. However, if one spouse made contributions to a house owned by the other spouse, such as by sharing in mortgage payments or assisting with improvements that increased the value of the property, that spouse may be reimbursed for their contributions to non-marital property.
Is the Home Included in a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement?
Some spouses may create a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married or a postnuptial agreement after marriage. These agreements may include decisions about how ownership of the couple’s home will be handled. In these cases, spouses will likely be bound to the terms of this agreement during their divorce.
Do You and Your Spouse Jointly Own a Second Property?
If you and your spouse own other property in addition to your marital home, such as a cottage, cabin, or vacation home, you may choose to divide these properties between the two of you. One spouse may keep the family home, while the other may keep other property. In these cases, properties must be similar in value, or the spouse who keeps a lower-value property may be awarded a larger share of other marital assets.
Can You Afford to Keep the Home?
The mortgage on your marital home will likely be in both your and your spouse’s names. If one spouse will be keeping the home, he or she will need to refinance the mortgage in his or her name only, and the other spouse’s name must be removed from the home’s title. If you are planning to remain in your home, you must determine whether you can receive a new mortgage from a lender, and you will need to be sure you can afford all the costs that come with home ownership, including mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes, and expenses related to upkeep and maintenance.
Do Your Children Currently Live in the Home?
You may want to ensure that your children can continue living in your home in the years following your divorce. This will allow them to continue attending the same schools, and they will experience fewer adjustments to their lives and routines. Residential arrangements for children may also play a role in decisions about child custody. If one spouse will be unable to afford sole ownership of the home, you may agree to co-own the home following your divorce, while including provisions in your divorce decree regarding when one spouse may purchase the other spouse’s share of the home’s equity in the future.
What Does Your Barrington Divorce Attorney Advise?
As with all major decisions made during your divorce, your divorce lawyer can advise you of your options regarding your marital home and help you make an informed decision on how to address ownership of this and other marital property. At the Law Office of Nicholas W. Richardson, P.C., we are prepared to work with you and help you secure a fair divorce settlement that will meet your needs. Call our Inverness divorce lawyer today at 847.873.6741 to schedule a free consultation.