location 166 W. Washington St., Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60602
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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Cook County Real Estate Property Division Lawyer

Schaumburg real estate property division attorney

Divorce Attorney for Dividing Vacation Homes, Rentals, and Investment Properties in Chicago, IL

A couple owning a home together is already enough to substantially complicate the process of dividing marital property in a divorce. In a high-asset divorce, when the parties own one or more additional real estate properties, dividing them can be even more challenging. As you attempt to negotiate a fair distribution of assets, it is crucial to understand how much your real estate property is worth, as well as how you can best protect your interests in it.

At The Law Office of George J. Skuros, we have significant experience with real estate law in addition to our decades of experience with family and divorce law. We strive to share our knowledge with you so that you have a comprehensive understanding of all of the possible legal and financial ramifications of dividing real estate property. With our assistance and representation, you can better prepare to achieve a favorable result.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Real Estate Property

Knowing whether your real estate property belongs to you personally or to the marital estate is necessary in order to protect your interests in the divorce process. While the marital home is often jointly owned by both spouses, it is more common for other real estate properties to be the individual property of one spouse. For example, a spouse may have inherited a home or real estate property from a deceased parent or another relative, or they may own one or more rental properties as part of a business venture that began before the marriage. However, any real estate property purchased during the marriage using marital assets will be subject to division in the divorce.

Valuing Real Estate Property for Divorce

Another important step when dividing real estate property during divorce is determining the value of all properties in order to ensure an equitable distribution. The best way to value real estate property for these purposes will likely depend on how the property is used.

If the property only has a personal use, perhaps in the case of a vacation home that your family regularly enjoys throughout the year, then valuing it as you would for a residential real estate sale is likely the best option. You may choose to enlist a real estate agent for assistance with a comparative market analysis, in which you would use the recent selling prices of similar properties in the area to determine a fair market value for your property. Alternatively, you could hire a licensed appraiser to perform a more comprehensive analysis of your property's value that takes into account market trends as well as the property's condition and amenities.

The valuation process will likely be more complicated for real estate property that generates any kind of income. Such properties could include:

  • Full-time or part-time vacation rentals and homestays
  • Homes, apartments, or condominiums rented to long-term tenants
  • Land developed for commercial purposes

For these kinds of properties, a better option may be to value them like any other business, considering not only their market value, but also the amount of income they are likely to generate over time.

Distributing Real Estate Property

Often, it is possible to negotiate with your spouse to reach a settlement regarding real estate and other marital property. In a high-asset divorce involving multiple real estate properties, you could actually have more flexibility when it comes to reaching a fair agreement. For example, you might decide that one of you should be granted full ownership of your primary residence, while the other is granted full ownership of a second home. You could even decide to remain joint owners of certain properties, perhaps continuing to act as partners in a rental business or sharing use of a vacation home. However, you should be sure that the decision you make is financially sound and sustainable. If you cannot reach a satisfactory resolution regarding a certain property, a better option may be to sell it and divide the equity. Keep in mind, though, that if the property has increased in value under your ownership, both spouses could owe capital gains taxes on the income.

Contact a North Shore Property Division Attorney

For a free initial consultation regarding the valuation and division of real estate property in your divorce, contact us at 312-884-1222 today. We represent clients throughout Cook County and the Chicago area, including the North Shore, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Schaumburg, Inverness, Park Ridge, and surrounding areas.

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