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Questions to ask regarding your family home during divorce

Getting divorced forces you to ask yourself a lot of questions about what you want for your future. Ideally, you will plan for your future even during the divorce process, trying to put yourself in the best position you can. This type of proactive approach can help you work toward the results that you want.

One thing you need to figure out is what you plan to do with your family home. Maybe you and your spouse have been together for 10 years, you have two kids, and you bought a home with a mortgage eight years ago. Now what?

To help you decide, just ask yourself these questions:

1. Is the home marital property?

In your situation, since you bought it together after getting married, it is. This means you both have a right to it. This is usually the case with married couples, but there are cases where one person owns the home outright.

2. Is your home mentioned in a prenuptial agreement?

If you signed a prenup, the reason is likely that you and your spouse wanted to take care of your financial concerns in advance. Did that address your home at all? If so, you may be bound by the prenup, even if you now would have preferred another outcome.

3. Do you have any assets of a similar value?

For instance, do you have a summer home or a cabin that is worth the same amount as your family home? If so, it is often fastest to split the assets up during the divorce. You take one, your spouse takes the other, and you can then do whatever you want with your individual properties after the divorce.

4. Can you afford it alone?

Keeping a joint mortgage after divorce is typically not a wise move. You need to get a new mortgage, if you keep the house, that is in your name. One key factor, then, is whether a lender will actually give you that mortgage. Can you make those payments, along with the other costs of homeownership, on your own?

5. What do the kids want?

A big factor here is what your kids would like. Does keeping the home make it easier for them because they don't have to move? Does it keep them in the same school system, living near the same friends? Carefully consider what is best for your family, not just for yourself.

Your options

Every situation is unique. For some, selling is the best option. For others, it's clearly best to try to keep the house. No matter what you decide, just make sure you consider the steps you will need to take in Illinois and the legal rights and obligations you have.

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O’Connor Family Law, P.C.

30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 3216
Chicago, IL 60602

Phone: 312-445-0577
Phone: 312-445-0577
Fax: 312-621-0102
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