Jun 20, 2022

Who Gets the House After a Divorce in Illinois?

Who Gets the House After a Divorce in Illinois?

When you enter a relationship with someone that leads to marriage, you’ll most likely buy many things together—homes, cars, clothing, investments, etc. In the unfortunate event of a divorce, you’ll split these assets. You may wonder how that works when it comes to property? Most importantly, who gets the house after a divorce in Illinois?

Is It Martial or Non-Marital?

The old saying “what’s mine is yours” does not apply in Illinois. Instead, judges divide properties based on what is deemed marital and non-marital. Non-marital properties were purchased before the marriage, whereas couples purchased marital properties jointly. Any properties bought during the marriage are automatically marital, even if it is only in one party’s name. The distinction is somewhat unclear, and some parties will fight to retain ownership of marital property assets. When a couple cannot mutually decide how to divide marital property, the court can intervene and split it for them. You should note that judges cannot divide non-marital properties.

Equitable Distribution Approach

Illinois courts follow the equitable distribution approach rather than the community property approach, which creates equitable but not necessarily equal divisions. Many factors are in place to guarantee that both parties in the divorce are left well-off and equal, and no one gets more than the other. Who is at fault in the relationship does not get considered, but circumstances that do affect judgment are:

  • Prenuptial agreements
  • Length of the marriage
  • Economic circumstances
  • Debts and financial needs
  • Occupation, skills, and employability

After a judge divides your property between you and your partner, you should be in a relatively similar financial situation. The state of Illinois strives for this sort of fair outcome.

Splitting a House

It's not easy to divide cars and investments, but the most challenging piece of property to divide in the case of a divorce is a house. They hold a lot of value, and splitting it up is challenging as you cannot cut it in half and have both parties still live there. When a couple cannot afford to keep the home, the judge may order you to sell it, and then they will divide the proceeds among you. In other situations, notably with children, judges can award homes to the custodial parent. A judge may also award one spouse the home while they will award the spouse a buyout of their equity share.

So, who gets the house after a divorce in Illinois? Unfortunately, the answer is not always immediately clear, but if you are going through a divorce and need help figuring that out, don't hesitate to find a property division lawyer. At Schiller DuCanto & Fleck, we can help simplify things for you and ensure the court splits your properties fairly.

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