Most couples buy a home at some point in their marriage. The family home is often the most valuable asset a couple owns, and the prospect of figuring out how to divide it in a divorce can be daunting. Fortunately, Illinois courts have established means of handling property division during divorce, and homes are no exception.
Who Gets to Keep the House?
Sometimes, it is necessary for a divorcing couple to sell the family home and divide the equity. However, it is common for one spouse to keep the home. Which spouse that will be may depend on a variety of factors, including each spouse’s financial situation, employment, and personal preferences. If there are children involved, the parent who is given the most parenting time may get to keep the home. The spouse who leaves the home may be able to recover their share of the home’s value in one of several ways.
Buying Out the Value of the Home
The spouse who stays in the home will usually do one of the following:
Buy out the other spouse’s equity
Give the spouse the home’s value in other assets
Keep the home instead of receiving alimony, or spousal maintenance
Continue to co-own the house and make payments together
Risks of Buying Out a Spouse’s Share of the Home
Buying out a spouse’s equity is not a fail-safe method for keeping a home, and it has some risks. The spouse remaining in the home may not have enough marital assets to buy out the other spouse all at once, and may need to make payments to the other spouse in addition to the mortgage. The spouse who is staying in the home could also lose substantial equity in retirement or investment funds they use to buy out the leaving spouse.
Spouses who stay in the home will also likely need to make mortgage payments on their own and pay for the upkeep of the house by themselves. The value of the house may depreciate or appreciate significantly, putting either spouse at a disadvantage. If divorce proceedings extend over a long period of time, spouses may want to get the marital home evaluated at the start of proceedings and then again at the final judgment.
Co-Owning The Home
Spouses who can get along and who would be at a significant disadvantage by selling their home or buying out their spouse may decide to continue co-owning their home together. This can cause complications for the spouse who moves out and needs to obtain other living arrangements, since the cost of the mortgage will still appear on their credit. Once the divorce is final, only one spouse will be able to claim the mortgage interest deduction on their taxes.
Contact a Naperville, IL Divorce Lawyer
Asset division in a divorce is complicated. If you are considering divorce and wondering how the process will affect the ownership and value of your family home, speak with a DuPage County divorce attorney. The skilled attorneys at Goostree Law Group can help you understand how a divorce could impact your finances and advocate for your interests with experience and compassion. Contact us at 630-364-4046 for a free, confidential consultation.