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DuPage County property division attorney for home ownershipWhile the emotional implications of divorce can certainly be difficult to contend with, the logistical and financial consequences of divorce are often just as taxing. If you and your spouse have recently split up, you are probably looking for a new place to stay. Many people choose to rent an apartment or stay with family or friends while their divorce is pending, but others choose to actually purchase a home. If you would prefer to buy rather than rent, you may be wondering how the decision to purchase a new home will affect your divorce. Before making any major financial decisions during your divorce, It is crucial to understand how Illinois law affects the division of assets.  

Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets

Before we can discuss the consequences of buying a home while going through a divorce, it is important to understand how Illinois courts divide marital property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. Courts divided marital property equitably, or fairly, based on several factors, including the spouses’ employment and financial circumstances, their future earning capacity, the standard of living established during the marriage, and more. Unlike in community property states, it is possible that one spouse may receive a greater share of the marital estate than the other during an Illinois divorce. 

Marital assets include any property or debts accumulated by either spouse during the course of the marriage. If you buy a home while you are still legally married and before a legal separation, the home will likely be considered marital property, and therefore, the value of the home will be subject to division during divorce. This is true even if the home is only titled in your name.

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DuPage County divorce attorney division of property

When a married couple decides to divorce, one of the most pressing questions is often, “What should we do with the family home?” Some individuals decide to stay in the family home and “buy out” their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Other times, one spouse takes ownership of the home while the other spouse receives property that is roughly equal in value. For some divorcing couples, the choice that makes the most sense is to sell the home and split the profits. Selling your home while going through a separation or divorce can be very complicated both personally and legally. There are several things you should keep in mind when deciding how to handle your family home when it comes to the division of property in your Illinois divorce.

Financial Concerns Regarding the Sale of Your Home

Before proceeds from the sale of your home can be divided, you will need to pay off the mortgage as well as any second mortgage or home equity line of credit. You must also pay the brokers’ fees and any capital gains tax that applies. Tax liability may not be high on your list of concerns, but it can have major financial ramifications during the sale of a house. 

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Wheaton asset division attorneyWhen you and your spouse got married, you might have moved into a house that one of you owned already, or you might have found a new home together. Since your wedding, it is also possible that you and your spouse have upgraded and bought a house big enough to accommodate your growing family. If you find yourself facing the prospect of a divorce, however, how and when you and your spouse bought your current home could affect its status as a marital asset.

Equitable Distribution in Illinois

According to Illinois law, a divorcing couple’s marital property is to be divided equitably, or fairly, between the spouses. The law also defines marital property as assets or debts acquired by either party during the marriage, with limited exceptions for inheritances or gifts to one spouse. Property that was acquired before the marriage is considered to be non-marital and is not subject to being divided during the divorce. This includes the home where you and your spouse were living when the marriage ended.

How and When the Home Was Purchased

If the home in question was purchased and fully paid off by either you or your spouse before you got married, it is not likely to be considered a marital asset by the court. It would more likely be considered a non-marital asset and awarded to the spouse who bought it originally. However, if you bought the home together at any point during your marriage, the home would probably be considered marital property.

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