Shawn H. Heffernan & Associates, P.C.
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Handling real estate during a divorce

When an Illinois couple decides to divorce, they may need to consider how to divide real estate, especially the family home. While assets like investment accounts or retirement funds can be divided more neatly, a home cannot be split in two. In many cases, divorcing couples still have a mortgage on the family home, and it is often one of the largest single assets involved in the property division process. In addition, it's possible that one or both partners have an emotional tie to the home, especially if children are involved and have grown up in the house.

Many couples simply decide to sell the home. The mortgage can be paid off from the proceeds, and the two spouses can separate the remaining funds as part of the overall divorce settlement. While this solution may seem easier, it does not necessarily respond to the emotional bonds that people may feel with the home. When one spouse wants to remain in the house, there are several issues to consider.

The remaining spouse will generally need to buy out the equity in the home owned by the other partner. The ease in which this is accomplished can depend on the amount of equity owned by the couple and the size of their assets. In addition, it's important to refinance the mortgage and retitle the deed in the name of just the remaining spouse. Without these important steps, the other spouse will remain linked to the property through unexpected liabilities and rights.

People going through a divorce may be particularly concerned about the financial impacts of their choice, especially the long-term effects that may follow. A family law attorney can help a divorcing spouse negotiate a fair settlement on a range of issues.

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