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What to do with the family home in a divorce

| Jun 18, 2020 | Divorce, Family Law |

The family home is one of the most valuable assets a person owns, both financially and emotionally. Homeowners in Illinois may have built up a significant amount of equity in their home, and it is the place where family memories are made. However, when a couple’s marriage goes south and they want to divorce, one of the biggest decisions they will have to make during the property division process is what to do with the family home.

One option is for one spouse to keep the home and buy out the other spouse’s share in it. This may be an especially attractive option if one spouse has custody of the children and wishes to keep raising them in the family home that they are familiar with. If one spouse wants to keep the family home, it is important that not only can they afford to buy out their ex’s share in it and refinance, but also that they can afford the many costs of homeownership. This means paying the mortgage, homeowner’s insurance, property taxes and upkeep on the home.

A more unusual situation is for both spouses to keep the home as a joint asset following their divorce. While this may make sense from a financial perspective, it means that the spouses will be tied together post-divorce, rather than making a clean split. If both spouses decide to retain an ownership interest in the home, they will have to cooperate when deciding how to pay for the expenses of homeownership.

If neither spouse can afford to keep the family home or if it is a place of bad memories that they want to leave behind, selling the family home and splitting the proceeds may be an option. It is important to note that if the home has gained significant appreciation since it was bought, once sold the parties may have to pay capital gains taxes.

Ultimately, what to do with the family home in the event of a divorce is a personal decision. There is no one-size-fits all solution that will work for all couples. Each spouse will need to sit down and examine their options. Attorneys can be a useful resource when it comes to dividing the family home in a divorce.

View the profile of Illinois Family Law Attorney Alex Fawell
DCBA | DuPAGE County Bar Association Member
Lead Counsel Rated Attorney