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What Happens to the Family Home in a Divorce?

For most families, the home is more than a piece of property or an asset, but a symbol of a life once shared. Deciding what happens to it in a divorce, therefore, is almost always a major point of contention and a concern for both spouses. If you still have minor children, you might be worried about uprooting them and how it will impact their ability to cope with an already overwhelming situation. Thankfully, you have many options to address this situation.

One Party Keeps the Family Home

You do not necessarily have to sell the home and split the equity in a divorce. It is possible for the court to award one spouse exclusive use of the family home, but certain factors must apply, such as:

  • A history of fear or abuse exists
  • A spouse is abusive
  • A spouse already left the family home and is living elsewhere

It is also possible for orders allowing exclusive use of the family home during a divorce to be temporarily issued and modified once the divorce is finalized. The court might also award one party the family home during trial while considering several of the following factors:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Health and age of both spouses
  • Contributions made by each party to create the marital estate, including domestic duties
  • Each spouse’s assets
  • Chances each spouse has at acquiring future assets
  • The needs of the children
  • The conduct of each spouse throughout the marriage

Family courts do not typically award the family home to a single party unless one spouse chooses to buy out the other spouse’s interest. If there is no equity in the home, one spouse would have to remove his or her name from the mortgage obligation. In cases where there is equity in the home, the court would likely provide the other spouse with a greater share of assets to make up for the loss of equity in the family home.

Keeping the Family Home

Some spouses have their hearts set on keeping the family home. If you are determined not to part with it, here are some tips to increase your chances of having a judge grant your request:

  • Provide the court with an approximate value of the home, along with evidence of its value and expert testimony from an appraiser
  • Explain why it is in the best interest of justice for you to keep the family home
  • Provide evidence to the court of the current mortgage obligation
  • If you can refinance the mortgage in your name alone, provide proof
  • If there is equity, provide proof that you can afford to buy out your spouse

Lastly, you also have the option of selling your home at a later date if you would rather wait for more equity to be built or for the housing market to improve.

Divorce Attorneys in Illinois

Divorce is never easy, which is why it is important to retain skilled and experienced legal assistance as soon as possible to ensure that your best interests are protected. At Wakenight & Associates, P.C., we will help you navigate the law and address all of your concerns.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

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