Negotiating property division matters is a challenge during most Illinois divorces. In general, everyone preparing for divorce wants as much as they can keep from their marital estate, and many people set wholly unrealistic expectations as a result.
For example, some people have heard stories about one person keeping the marital home while the other spouse gets nothing. They may then decide that they want to keep the home and will settle for nothing less. However, such expectations are unrealistic. In Illinois, the rule for property division is that courts handle resources equitably. That means there should be a fair division of property and debts in litigated divorces, and most uncontested processes follow this general rule as well.
With that said, there are several solutions for equitably dividing real property in an Illinois divorce, and the three noted below are the most common.
Continued joint ownership
Sometimes, couples know that neither spouse can maintain the home alone and also that it is not the right time to sell the property. Some couples may agree to joint ownership so that they can rent the house out to others for a stream of income that they share. Others might arrange to continue working on the home until it is in the ideal condition to sell. In some cases, parents with young children might agree to a birdnesting co-parenting arrangement because neither could obtain housing in the same school district without the financial support of the other.
Selling the house
The simplest way to evenly split the equity accrued in real property is to sell the property. That way, the spouses have a set amount of revenue from the sale that they can divide in accordance with a judge’s decree. They could also use those funds to fully resolve marital debts.
Letting one spouse keep the home
Perhaps one parent will have more parenting time than the other, and they will stay in the home so that the children can stay in the same school district. Sometimes, the decision of who keeps the house comes down to who can afford it or qualify for a mortgage to refinance it. The spouse who retains the home will usually need to refinance to pay the other a fair portion of equity or allow them to keep other resources that are worth a comparable value.
Couples who settle divorce matters can choose the solution they would like to apply to their marital home. Those who litigate will rely on a judge to make that final decision. Ultimately, evaluating each option for addressing a marital home when dividing property may help people feel more confident about their circumstances when pursuing an Illinois divorce.