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Joliet divorce lawyerFor married couples who own a home, figuring out who, if anyone, gets to keep it is often one of the most difficult parts of the divorce process. However, it is important not to overlook the challenges for divorcing couples who rent a home or apartment together. If you and your spouse are renters, you may not have to deal with the complexities of dividing real estate property, but you may still face conflict when it comes to deciding who will stay in the apartment and who will be responsible for paying rent as your divorce proceeds.

Rental Leases in Divorce

If you have decided to get a divorce, there is a good chance that you and your spouse want to start living separately. However, a rental lease can make this complicated. In many cases, the names of both spouses will be on the lease, which means that you both have a claim to stay there until the lease ends, and you both are obligated to continue paying rent.

If you and your spouse are on relatively good terms, you may be able to address these issues by reaching an agreement. For example, you could consider whether one of you has another viable place to stay, like with a friend or family member. If you have children, you might consider an arrangement in which the parent with primary childcare responsibilities will stay in your rental home so as to better maintain the children’s routine.

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Joliet divorce lawyerGetting a divorce brings so many major life changes that you may find yourself looking for comfort and stability in things that can stay the same. This mindset may have led you to prioritize keeping your marital home in the division of property so that you do not have to worry about moving along with ending your marriage. However, keeping the home is not always the best decision, and it is important to consider your answers to the following questions as you decide how to proceed.

Are You Raising Children?

If you have kids under the age of 18 who are still living with you, especially if you are expecting a greater share of parenting time, staying in your home may be important to help the children adjust and allow them to continue attending the same school. If your children are already grown, however, a divorce may be a good opportunity to sell the home and downsize to a residence that is more affordable and easier to maintain.

Can You Afford the Mortgage?

If you and your spouse have not finished paying off your mortgage, keeping the home in the divorce will likely also mean that you become fully responsible for the debt. Homeownership also comes with other substantial costs, including insurance, property tax, utilities, and repairs. If all of these expenses fit into your post-divorce budget, keeping the home may be a good idea, but if you cannot pay them, it may be best to let the home go.

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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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