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Joliet divorce attorneysDetermining what to do with your family home during the asset division process can be a difficult task. For some, it may be obvious who will be keeping the house and who will be moving out. For others, it may be a contentious conversation to have during your divorce proceedings. Illinois divides marital property equitably, but not necessarily equally, and this reality can leave you wondering how you and your spouse will each be granted equivalent amounts of marital property if your family home is your most expensive asset. With the help of a reputable divorce attorney, you can be fully informed on the options available to you and will receive your fair share.

Dividing Your Large Assets

For those who have more than one large asset, determining who gets the family home may not seem like an unfair discussion. If you and your spouse have multiple large assets, such as luxury cars or a vacation home, you may just agree to have one spouse keep the home and the other keep the second large asset. This is the easier route to take if it is a possibility, but for most families, their home is their one and only particularly large asset.

Buy Out Your Spouse

In order to avoid having one spouse benefit by receiving the largest asset, while the other spouse feels short-changed, the spouse who intends on keeping the marital home can buy out their former spouse. This requires an official appraisal of your house’s current market value, dividing the number in half, and the new sole-homeowner paying their former spouse for their half of the ownership. This is a common solution used by divorcing parents, allowing the children to remain in their current home with one parent while the other parent finds alternative housing.

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What Happens to the House During an Illinois Divorce?Looking back on your life with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, it can be emotional to imagine the big steps that you have taken together — buying your first home, moving in together, and making memories under its roof. For many, homes can be a symbol of love, family, and security. For those considering divorce, their home can still represent all of these things, which makes it difficult to determine what you should do with it. Is one of you adamant about keeping the home or are you both looking for a fresh start? Depending on you and your spouse’s circumstances, there are a number of options available to you during the asset division process.

Equitable Division

Illinois is an equitable division state when it comes to marital property division. In other words, you and your spouse’s belongings will be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. A number of factors, such as each spouse’s income and savings, will be considered when determining who gets what. For most couples, their home is their largest asset, making it a prized possession during asset division. Couples involved in a collaborative divorce can determine how they would like things to be handled, while those involved in litigation will have a judge make this decision for them. Regardless, there are a few common options available if your intention is to keep the house and not sell it.

Divide the Large Assets

For couples that have a number of large assets, such as a vacation home, expensive cars, or a large stock portfolio, they may decide to allot certain assets to each other. One spouse gets the marital home, while the other gets the vacation home. Since one spouse is typically more inclined to keep the marital home than the other, this can often be an easy decision to make. If you and your spouse have kids, the custodial parent will usually stay in the home with their kids, while the other parent finds a new place to live.

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Should I Get a Home Appraisal Before Filing for Divorce?Deciding what to do with your family’s home after your divorce can be an emotional decision to make. You likely have a number of happy memories over the past years that are tied to your home. Oftentimes, one party will keep the home while the other will move out and find a new place to live. Deciding who will remain in the home may not be a hard choice, but divvying up your other assets and properties in a fair manner may prove difficult. A couple’s house is likely the most valuable asset that they have, both personally and financially, so the person who remains in the home is receiving the largest asset in the divorce. Since Illinois is an equitable division state when it comes to asset and property division, the other spouse must receive assets of similar value in return.

What is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is a financial estimate of your home from a licensed professional. Appraisers will determine the fair market value of your home by looking at sales of similar properties in your area over the past few months. Typically, they will look at the selling price of three recently sold properties and the asking price of three properties currently on the market. The appraiser will average the costs, make adjustments based on characteristics of your home, and determine a fair market value for your property. 

Why Do I Need One?

Appraisals can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several hundred dollars, and the price tag can often stray people away from getting their home financially evaluated. What many do not realize is that a home appraisal can save them thousands of dollars at the end of the day. It is important to know the true value of your home for equitable distribution during the property division process. Some couples may do their own property estimate by looking at the prices of properties nearby, but they fail to take into account the various other factors that can affect their home’s value. In contentious divorces, both spouses may consider getting their own appraisal done to ensure the accuracy of the presented value. If two appraisals are done, a judge will typically look at both numbers, see if they are different, and average the two.

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Four Key Post-Divorce Moves to Manage Your FinancesOften, being married means nearly every part of your lives are entwined with each other – and finances are no exceptions. Many married couples have joint finances and share financial assets such as bank accounts, credit card accounts, investments, and even retirement accounts. When you go to get a divorce, you have to split all of that up in the most equitable way possible. This can be difficult even for the most amicable of couples. It is important to understand that a lot – but not all – of your post-divorce financial success depends on how you handled the finances during the divorce. Here are a few things you can do after the divorce to ensure you have a bright financial future:

  1. Take Care of Your Credit: You should take steps to make sure your credit is protected and that you are starting to build new credit in your name only. If there are any credit cards still open in both your and your ex-spouse’s name, be sure to close them as soon as possible. Open one or two credit cards in your name only to begin building credit on your own.
  2. Make Sure Your Estate Planning Documents are Up to Date: This is something that couples often forget about when they get a divorce. Once your divorce is final, you will want to be sure to update all of your estate planning documents, if you have them. The last thing you would want is for your ex-spouse to inherit your estate if you were to suddenly die. Be sure to update the beneficiaries in your will, trust or other documents.
  3. Sell or Refinance Your Home: If you and your spouse bought a home while you were married, you will also need to determine what to do with such a large asset. If neither of you wants the home, the easiest thing to do would be to sell the home and split the profits. If one of you is keeping the home, you may need to refinance it to make the payments more manageable.
  4. Form a Budget For Yourself: Now that you are single, you will need to rework your budget to meet your needs, while also fitting within your new income. Before, you probably relied on both yours and your spouse’s income to run the household. Now you must make sure you can survive on your income alone. 

Get Help From a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Your finances are one of the biggest issues that will affect you for the rest of your life following a divorce. Getting help from a knowledgeable Bolingbrook, IL, divorce attorney can ensure your divorce settlement addresses as many of these issues as possible. At The Foray Firm, we can help you plan for your financial future before your divorce and help you modify the terms of your agreement after the fact. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Joliet divorce attorney marital property real estateWhen two people get married, they usually have every intention of building a life together. In most cases, this means sharing their assets and assuming joint responsibility for their debts and obligations. When a couple decides to get divorced, they are faced with the task of dividing those shared assets and debts. Under the law in Illinois, marital property must be divided between divorcing spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable based on the couple’s circumstances.

It can be difficult, in some cases, to know for sure whether a particular asset should be considered marital property. This is especially true for high-value assets like a car or the marital home that might have only one name listed as the owner. Can an asset that is titled in the name of just one spouse be considered marital property during divorce?

Whose Name Is Listed?

There are several factors that determine whether your home is a marital asset, and the name on the deed or mortgage is not usually among these factors. It is not uncommon for a couple to list just one spouse on a mortgage--often for credit reasons--but the name that is listed has virtually no effect on classifying the home as marital or separate property. While this may be surprising, the law regarding marital property in Illinois was designed to reduce confusion and to prevent spouses from manipulating their circumstances to gain an unfair advantage.

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