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3 steps to take if you want to keep the family home in a divorce

Your family home may be where you have lived for decades. You may have raised your children there and invested hours every year in the careful creation of a large perennial garden.

Real estate in Illinois can be incredibly valuable, which can make your home a point of contention when you and your spouse divorce. You might both hope to keep the house, which could lead to litigation about your property division matters.

In Illinois, the law requires an equitable or fair distribution of your assets. If you understand what that means, you understand that you don’t have to keep the house itself to receive your share of its equity. If retaining the home is still your goal, there are ways that you can improve your chances of achieving that goal.

Figure out what some home is truly worth

Before you can take any steps to assert your ownership rights for your shared marital home, you have to know what the house is worth on the current real estate market. You will potentially need an appraisal to put a fair market value price on the home.

The house where you have lived for decades could be worth several times the amount that you originally financed on the current market.

Do an honest financial review

One of the most important steps if you hope to negotiate to keep the home in your divorce will be securing financing. You will need to refinance the home so that your ex can receive a portion of the equity, so reaching out for mortgage pre-approval based on your sole income is a smart move.

Keeping the home won’t be an option if you are unable to qualify for a mortgage that allows you not only to pay what you still owe on the property but also to give your ex some of the equity in the home.

Approach your ex with an offer

If you litigate the major property division decisions in your divorce, there is no guarantee about what outcome will result. The best way to secure specific terms and achieve a particular result in property division is to negotiate directly with your spouse.

You have the option of creating your own property settlement agreement. Your lawyer can make an offer to your ex to buy them out of the home or potentially offer them other assets that they want to keep, like a retirement account or a small business they started during the marriage.

Planning carefully when you have a specific property division goal in an Illinois divorce will increase your chances of success.