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Deciding whether to keep the family home in a divorce

In Illinois, divorcing couples may have issues about who should get the family home. The home is commonly the largest asset that a couple has, and there may be emotional attachments to it. People who have children might also decide that they want one of the spouses to keep the home.

There are several questions that a person should ask before they decide to try to buy out their spouse’s interest in the family home. People first need to figure out the amount of equity that they have in their home. They might need to get a valuation of the property to figure out its fair market value and then subtract the mortgage from it to arrive at the equity.

They will then need to figure out how much they will owe to their spouses if they buy them out. Since Illinois is an equitable distribution state, this amount may not be half of the equity. After figuring this out, they will need to determine the size of the mortgage they would need to buy their spouses out and whether they could qualify. Finally, they should determine if they could afford the mortgage, insurance, property taxes and maintenance costs for the home.

People who are getting divorced might want to consult with experienced family law attorneys. An attorney may help his or her client determine whether keeping the family home is in the client’s best interests or if it might make more sense to sell the home and divide the equity. In some cases, it may be better for both spouses to move rather than keeping the family home. A lawyer may also help a client with other property division and child custody issues so that the client’s interests will be protected.