Aside from child custody & child visitation, the most contentious issues in Illinois divorce cases tend to revolve around property. For most couples, the single most valuable asset that they own is their house. This can create some serious challenges.
Splitting up real estate can be especially difficult, for both emotional and logistical reasons. Here, our Wheaton, IL property division lawyers highlight some of the most important things that you need to know about your house and your divorce.
Figure Out if Your House is Marital Property
There are four basics steps to dividing property in an Illinois divorce case: identify the property, classify the property, value the property, and distribute the property. When dealing with your house, the second step, ‘classifying the property’, is extremely important. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. All marital property must be divided in a fair manner. However, not all of a couple’s property is necessarily marital property.
Depending on the circumstances of your marriage, the house may or may not be marital property. If you purchased the home after your marriage, it is almost certainly marital property. However, if the home was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, or if it was protected by a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the house may be exempt from property division.
Be Prepared to Find Collaborative Solutions
If your house is marital property, you need to be ready to work with your spouse to find the best solution. The big issue with dealing with a house is that it is simply not an easily divisible asset. While you can take the money out of a bank account or investment account and divide it up, it is far more challenging to split real estate.
In many cases, divorcing couples choose to sell their home. They then divide up whatever value is left over after the sale is completed and the mortgage is settled. However, this is not always the case. One partner may want to remain in the home following the divorce. This most often occurs in cases where young children still live in the home. Though, it could certainly happen with childless couples or empty-nesters as well.
As the home is a complicated asset, whether it is being sold or one spouse is remaining in it, divorcing couples can benefit from working together collaboratively to find the best, most effective solution. The house needs to be considered in the context of your overall divorce settlement. If you are getting divorced and you own a home, it is crucial that you are represented by an experienced divorce lawyer who can help to facilitate the best settlement while also ensuring that your rights and interests are fully protected.
Contact Our Illinois Divorce Attorneys Today
At Keller Legal Services, our Illinois divorce lawyers have deep experience handling the full range of property division cases. If you have questions about your home and your divorce, we are here to help. For a free divorce consultation, please contact us today at 630-868-3093 (Wheaton office) or 630-859-2801 (Aurora office). We look forward to assisting you.