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Divorce forces you to think about your future, what you want it to look like, and how to protect and prepare yourself for it. While trying to place yourself in the best position possible once your divorce is finalized, you may try anything to keep your family home. The marital home is typically the biggest asset in any divorce and one that often both spouses wish to keep. Before you enter into a fight regarding the home, there are some very important questions you must ask yourself.
Under Illinois’ property division laws, marital property is subject to equitable division. This means that if you and your spouse purchased the home together after you were married, the court will divide the home fairly, although not necessarily equally. If you or your spouse bought the home alone before marriage, on the other hand, it is separate property and the purchaser can keep it outright. Typically, family homes are considered marital property, although that is not always the case.
More and more couples today are entering into premarital agreements prior to marriage. If you and your spouse did this and the home was mentioned in the agreement and the agreement is deemed enforceable by the courts, the terms included in the agreement will stand, even if it is no longer your preferred outcome.
Even if you can afford the home now, you have to consider that your financial situation is going to change after divorce. Maybe you will have to pay spousal support, or perhaps a judge will order you to pay child support. In these instances, those additional costs may make it impossible for you to afford the cost of homeownership, including property taxes, insurance, and general maintenance. Additionally, if the mortgage is currently under the name of you and your spouse, you will have to apply for a new mortgage. In this instance, you also have to consider if you can afford the mortgage alone and if a lender will grant you a new mortgage that is only in your name.
Divorce is an emotional process and sometimes, those emotions may cloud your judgment. You have to ask yourself why you really want to keep the home. Is it because a lawyer suggested you would likely get child custody and you want to keep your children close to their friends and school? Or, do you want to keep the home just to make things more difficult for your spouse? This is not an easy question to answer, but it is perhaps the most important.
Property division issues are one of the most contentious aspects of any divorce. When trying to decide what you want to keep and what the court will allow you to keep, our experienced Hinsdale divorce lawyers can help. At the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio, we understand how property is divided in Illinois, and we also know how to protect your interests and what is most valuable to you. When you are going through a divorce, call us at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.