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Are you getting a fair deal on the house in your divorce?

If you're going through a divorce in Illinois, the value of the home you've shared with your spouse isn't so easily divided as a sum of money you can split down the middle. There may be equity in the home that has to be accounted for in divorce negotiations, and the decision to sell, keep or move out of the house is usually based on multiple factors, not the least of which is financial.

In the event that two spouses agree to sell the property, it is a good idea to negotiate the responsibilities each party will have in the process of the sale. Maybe one spouse has already moved away and won't be able to communicate with the broker as readily, or maybe one spouse takes on the duty of showing the property to potential buyers. These are costs that can be addressed in the divorce settlement.

If the sale of the home yields a profit, then there is also the decision of how to distribute the proceeds. Should there be a direct distribution, or should the money go into an escrow account? It is also possible for one spouse to receive more or less of the proceeds if other marital assets are divided to make up the difference.

Things become messier when the spouses can't agree on what should be done with the house. If that is the case, then the matter of property division may be taken to court, where a legal strategy is necessary for the division of assets to be fair. Illinois law does not guarantee a 50-50 split, so having legal support in your corner is one way of protecting your financial future after dissolving a marriage.

Source: Reuters, "Splitsville? How to divide property in a divorce," Geoff Williams, Oct. 7, 2013

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