property divisionOf all the divorce issues couples face during the proceedings, dealing with the family home can be one of the most contentious and emotionally charged. The value of the residence places it among the highest valued assets in a divorce, and it will be considered marital property in many cases. As a result, Illinois’ property division statute applies. By law, all marital assets are subject to equitable distribution between the parties, so the court will divide property according to the interests of fairness.


Unfortunately, knowing the basics of asset distribution in Illinois divorce will not provide much guidance on whether you should sell or keep the family home. For advice and counsel with important decision-making, you should rely on a Chicago property division attorney. Some of the key considerations include:

Agreements in Illinois Divorce Cases

Initially, you should note a practical consideration when it comes to dividing assets. Illinois law encourages parties to agree on divorce-related issues, including what to do with real estate. Therefore, you have considerable flexibility in deciding whether to sell or keep. The statute on equitable distribution only applies when the judge is determining how to split property fairly. When parties can agree, they have more control over the divorce process.

Pros and Cons of Keeping the Family Home

With the spirit of compromise in mind, it is helpful to avoid thinking only about why YOU would want to sell or stay. When you consider the pros and cons from both sides, you might get closer to an agreement:


  • Stay: For parents, children are a major motivating factor for staying. No matter what their age, uprooting them to a new school and friends is a huge life change. The downside is that the parties will have to work out details regarding the valuing the home, a buyout and possibly refinancing a mortgage. For the party staying, it is critical to assess the total monthly and yearly costs.
  • Sell: When you cannot agree on who gets the home, it is usually better to sell. You both walk away with a percentage of the proceeds and a fresh start in a new home. One disadvantage is that you could be selling in a less-than-desirable housing market.

Time is a Factor When Selling

If you do make the decision to sell the family home, the next question is when will you do it? What part of the divorce process makes the most sense? There are tax benefits for selling before the divorce is final since you can still take advantage of beneficial tax treatment when filing jointly as a married couple. By waiting until the case concludes, you might face more capital gains taxes on the proceeds of the sale. 

A Chicago Property Division Attorney Can Guide You in Decision-Making

Every divorce case is different, but these are some of the factors to consider when weighing whether you should sell or keep the family home. To learn more about Illinois laws on property division, please contact Chicago divorce attorney Michael C. Craven. You can call (312) 621-5234 to set up a free, initial consultation.

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