What to avoid when dividing a home in a divorce

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Property Division on Wednesday, December 26, 2018.

Illinois homeowners who are getting divorced may face several issues during the property division process. If one spouse keeps the home, the other should be removed from the deed. Otherwise, there could be problems later if an amicable divorce turns contentious and the owner wants to sell. Problems could also arise for both exes if the owner goes into foreclosure.

Another common error is when one person fights for the home without first making sure it is affordable. While couples could agree to a sale during negotiations, many divorce-related home sales are actually ordered by judges following litigation. One option is for couples to agree to sell after a year or two as they wait for the market to improve or a child to finish school. A nesting arrangement might work in some of these cases. In this scenario, the children will stay in the home while the parents rotate living there.

If one partner does take the home, the other may buy the spouse out. One spouse could also sign the house over to the other without money changing hands.

In the latter case, couples should make sure that if they are exchanging another asset for the home as part of the property division agreement, the asset is roughly worth the same amount. For example, many people forget to take into account the fact that a retirement account could be taxed on distribution or have a penalty for withdrawal before a certain age. Other considerations might be the liquidity of assets and the likelihood that they will appreciate. An attorney can help guide a client through the property division process.

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