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Homeownership and property division during a divorce

People who divorce in Illinois may wonder about the financial effects of the end of their marriage, especially women. One study found that women who divorce see their income go down by over 20 percent, even while divorced men’s income tends to rise by around 33 percent. However, another study from the Center for Retirement Research indicates that some divorced women may fare better than never-married single women if they are homeowners after the split.

Divorced women often fare better than never-married single women in terms of assets saved for retirement. There are a number of reasons for this, including access to shared resources during the period of a marriage while single women need to rely on themselves alone to accumulate assets or obtain a mortgage. One of the most significant factors, according to the study, was if a divorced woman was a homeowner. Some experts urged caution in interpreting the results of the study. Divorce lawyers cited cases in which women fought to walk away from the marriage with the home but did not have sufficient income or resources to refinance the mortgage, pay the bills and taxes or keep up the property. These women wound up in a worse financial position due to their insistence on keeping the marital home.

However, others noted that homeownership among divorced women did not necessarily imply keeping the marital home. In some cases, selling the home and dividing the proceeds may be the best option, and it may enable both partners to purchase new homes of their own after the divorce that fit their new, single budgets.

People may have a number of questions about how their decisions during the divorce could affect them years down the line. A family law attorney may help answer these questions and provide representation to obtain a fair property division settlement.