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Options for the Marital Home in Divorce Proceedings

Equitable distribution written in white chalk on a black chalkboard isolated on white

Parties have many options when determining how to divide their marital property, but the ultimate disposition of the property depends on whether they agree to a particular option or the court orders it. Understanding the possible options can help the parties determine what is the best way to handle their home based on their personal financial circumstances.

Equitable Distribution

Any agreement that the parties reach in their divorce case must be reviewed by the family court judge who is presiding over the divorce case. The agreement will not necessarily be approved by the judge, but family court judges do often approve these agreements.

If the parties are not able to reach a decision regarding the marital home and the disposition of other property, the court determines how to divide it. Illinois family courts use the principle of equitable division, meaning that they try to determine what is a fair way to dispose of the property but not necessarily equal.

Some of options a family law attorney may recommend include:

Sell the Home

One of the easiest solutions may be to sell the home and to split any proceeds between the parties. The benefit of this option is that the parties can downsize so that they will be able to afford smaller, separate spaces. They can also break this bond that continues to tie them together. If the property is sold before the divorce, the parties can avoid additional hassles, such as appraising the property.

Buy Out the Other Party

If one of the spouses wants to keep the home, another option is for him or her to buy out the other party. This is often completed by the spouses exchanging other property that adds up to the spouse’s share of the marital home. In order to reach this solution, the parties must determine the value of the property and each spouse’s share. In order to complete this transaction, the spouse moving out of the home will likely need to sign a quitclaim deed to the other spouse, getting rid of his or her interest in the home. Additionally, the spouse maintaining the home may need to refinance the property in just his or her sole name so that the other spouse is not obligated to the debt.

Rent the Home

Another option is for the parties to maintain the home for now and rent it out to provide extra income to both spouses.

Uncontested divorce lawyer Denise Erlich is passionate about helping divorcing couples in the greater Chicagoland area transition to their new life as seamlessly as possible. Ms. Erlich patiently guides her clients through every step of the divorce process and provides clients with candid advice about their case and legal options, so they can make informed decisions about their future.