location 1580 N. Northwest Highway, Suite 12, Park Ridge, IL 60068
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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Chicago Marital Home Division Attorney

North Shore family home property division lawyer

Divorce Lawyer for Dividing Real Estate Property in Cook County

When a couple decides to get a divorce, their home is often the single most important property to address in the division of marital assets and debts. Not only is it frequently the most valuable property belonging to the marital estate, but it also often has the most sentimental value, and the decision regarding how it should be divided will impact where one or both spouses and their children will live after the divorce.

With all of these significant implications in mind, you should prepare for your divorce by identifying your priorities regarding the marital home and making a plan to achieve them. At The Law Offices of George J. Skuros, our extensive experience in both family and real estate law allows us to provide you with informed counsel and skilled representation for any legal matters regarding your home and other real estate properties.

Will My Home Be Included in the Division of Property?

In an Illinois divorce, marital property is subject to division, while non-marital property remains with the spouse to whom it originally belonged. As such, an important question as your divorce approaches is whether your home qualifies as marital property. If the home was purchased during your marriage using marital assets, then the court will consider it to be marital property, regardless of whether one or both spouses' names are included in the purchase agreement or mortgage. However, there are situations in which the home where you and your spouse lived could be considered non-marital property. For example:

  • If you or your spouse owned the home before you got married, especially if a prenuptial agreement has established that the home belongs to one spouse
  • If the home was acquired as a gift or inheritance in one spouse's name
  • If the home was purchased entirely using one spouse's non-marital assets

Options for Dividing the Marital Home

If your home is considered to be marital property, it is important to understand its value before beginning property division negotiations. The methods of valuing a home during the divorce process are similar to those used in preparation for a real estate transaction, with some of the most common options being an appraisal and a comparative market analysis. Seeking your own valuation independently of your spouse can help to ensure that you have all of the information necessary to protect your interests.

There are a few different options for addressing the home in the division of marital assets depending on your financial situation, your family situation, and the preferences of each spouse. One option is to sell the home. Obviously, this means that neither spouse will be able to continue to live there, but it is often the best option when neither spouse can reasonably afford to keep the home on their own or when you are unable to reach a different agreement. Typically, the proceeds from selling the home will be used to pay the remaining balance on the mortgage, and the equity will then be distributed fairly between the you and your spouse.

Another option is for one spouse to keep the home, usually by compensating for the other spouse's share of equity with other marital assets or buying it out using non-marital assets. The spouse who intends to keep the home should ensure that they have the resources to do so, as well as to continue to pay the mortgage, property taxes, insurance premiums, and costs of upkeep. In this case, it may also be important to refinance the home so that only the spouse who retains possession will have an obligation to the mortgage lender.

A third alternative, maintaining joint ownership of the home for the time being, may be the best choice if you and your spouse want your children to continue living in the home they are accustomed to after the divorce. Some parents even choose to work out a temporary "birdnesting" agreement, in which each parent uses the home during their allocated parenting time. If you choose to continue owning the home together, you may include a plan for sharing mortgage payments in your divorce agreement, as well as a plan for selling the home and dividing the equity after your children reach adulthood.

Contact an Arlington Heights Divorce Attorney

If you have questions or concerns about your home and other marital property during the divorce process, we can help you address them. Contact us today at 312-884-1222 for a free consultation with Attorney George Skuros. From our offices in Park Ridge and Chicago, we serve clients throughout Cook County, including the North Shore, Schaumburg, Inverness, Arlington Heights, Park Ridge, Mount Prospect, Des Plaines, and the surrounding areas.

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