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What options does an Illinois homeowner have in a divorce?

Many Illinois couples purchase homes during their marriages. If they end up getting a divorce, what happens to the family home often becomes a topic of much debate. It would be prudent to take a realistic and unemotional look at the options before making a decision regarding what to do with that home.

One spouse might immediately demand to keep the home, but that might not be in his or her best interest. Most Illinois homeowners have mortgage loans, and when that financial obligation is coupled with the need to maintain the home, it could be a mistake to try to keep the house. So what options does a couple have?

If one party wants to keep the home, any mortgage loans need to be either refinanced or assumed. In either case, just because the parties agree to this does not mean that the lender will. The party who wants to keep the home will more than likely need to qualify for a new loan or to assume the loan. Without the financial resources to do so, keeping the home could become impossible. The other option is to sell the home, pay off the mortgage loan and split any profit from the sale.

Whether a couple agrees to sell the home or to let one spouse keep it, there is much more to consider than just any emotional attachment a party has to the home. Divorce often causes a significant change in each party's finances. Monies that once supported one household will now need to support two households. Each party needs to determine what his or her finances will be like after the divorce before making any decisions regarding the home.

Source: nerdwallet.com, "How to Handle Your Home During Divorce", Shawn Leamon, Feb. 22, 2017

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