During any divorce, there are certain factors that must be considered, such as how to split up assets and debt, alimony, and child custody (known as parenting allocation in Illinois). In many divorces, one of the most challenging assets to split is the house – which is also known as the marital home. It is often one of the biggest assets to be divided, and both parties may have an emotional attachment to the house.
There is no hard and fast rule as to who gets the home in an Illinois divorce. Generally, if there are minor children, then the spouse with the majority of parenting time will typically get the house. The other spouse will then be compensated for their share of the house in other ways. Otherwise, the marital home will be divided just like any other asset in a divorce.
Getting divorced can be difficult, both emotionally and financially. At Manassa Law, we are committed to guiding our clients through the process and helping them achieve the best possible outcome for their cases. Reach out to schedule a free initial consultation with a Barrington divorce attorney.
Division of Assets in an Illinois Divorce
Illinois is an equitable distribution state. This means that if a court has to divide assets and debts in a divorce, it won’t simply split everything down the middle. Instead, a court will look at a number of factors, including each party’s current situation and future needs. This rule is applied to the division of all types of assets, including retirement accounts, investments, and the marital home.
Illinois law lists 12 things to consider when dividing assets:
- Each party’s contribution to the marital estate
- Dissipation by each party (hiding or wasting of marital assets)
- Value of the property
- Length of the marriage
- Relevant economic circumstances of each party
- Prior marriages and any financial obligations or assets that arose from them
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
- Each party’s status in terms of age, health, occupation, skills, income, and needs
- Parental responsibilities
- Maintenance costs
- Earning potential of each party
- Tax consequences of each asset
These factors are used to determine the division of marital property, which is broadly defined as any asset or debt acquired during the marriage. Non-marital, or separate property is not subject to asset division. Non-marital property may include assets that were acquired before the marriage or inherited property.
In most Illinois divorce cases, the home is considered a marital asset – although there may be some exceptions, such as if one party purchased the home on their own, prior to the marriage. As a result, the marital home is typically subject to division in a divorce.
If the parties cannot come to an agreement about who gets the home in an Illinois divorce, then a judge may make that decision for them using the factors for asset division listed above. For most people, coming to an agreement about the marital home – through collaborative divorce or negotiation – is often the best choice.
Who Gets the Home in an Illinois Divorce?
The marital home is a unique asset when it comes to property division. Courts want to look out for the best interests of any children in the marriage, so if there are kids involved, then the marital home will typically go to the parent who will have more physical custody. This promotes stability for the kids by allowing them to stay in their home.
However, there are many divorces that don’t involve kids – or where the children are grown and out of the house. In this situation, the biggest factors that are considered in determining who gets the house are who wants it and how the other party can be compensated.
If neither party wants the house – or if neither can afford to remain in the house on their own – then the parties may agree to sell the family home. Once the home has been sold, then each spouse will get a share of the proceeds. However, selling the house can be complicated, particularly if you have a contentious relationship with your soon-to-be-ex. There are also a number of hidden costs associated with selling a house. A Barrington divorce lawyer can help you navigate this process.
Alternatively, if one spouse wants to stay in the home, then they can buy out the other person. This can be done by giving up other assets or paying cash to the spouse who does not want to stay in the house. There are many things to consider when doing a buyout, such as whether one spouse will end up paying too much if the value of the house drops, or if another spouse will lose out on future appreciation of the property.
Buyout payments can often be structured over time, as most people cannot afford to simply write a check for half of the value of their home. A skilled Barrington divorce attorney can help you determine the best way to structure this type of arrangement in a divorce settlement.
Finally, it may be possible to co-own the home for a period of time or even indefinitely. This often happens when one spouse buys the other one out over time, as both spouses will typically own the house until the buyout payments are complete. Co-owning a house with your ex can be incredibly complicated and comes with certain risks. Before agreeing to co-own your marital home, consult with a divorce lawyer in Barrington, IL.
How Our Law Firm Can Help You Manage Your Illinois Divorce
Figuring out who gets the home can be difficult, especially if both parties are interested in staying in the house. If you can’t come to an agreement, then a court will make the decision for you – which may not result in the outcome you want. An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can help you achieve the best outcome for your case.
Based in Barrington, IL, Manassa Law represents individuals and families in a range of family law matters, including divorce, child custody and support, and alimony. We are skilled at collaborative divorce and at helping our clients obtain a favorable division of property. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, give our law office a call at 847-221-5511 or fill out our online contact form.