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What to do with the house in the event of divorce?

The house is likely the most important and highly valued asset that a married couple will own.  Deciding what to do with the home in the event of a divorce is an important and in some cases complex decision.  This can especially be true when one of the spouses wishes to remain in the home.

Careful planning is extremely important under any circumstances to hold onto more money and avoid headaches.  Even the option of selling the house and splitting the proceeds evenly is not always simple.  Taxes must still be taken into consideration.  Also, in today's housing market, it may not be the best time to sell.  We are still seeing a large number of properties with negative equity.



Though the divorce papers may say one spouse or the other is responsible for paying off the mortgage, the bank may view this from another perspective. One couple was told by the bank that the wife needed to reapply for a separate mortgage under her own separate name after the divorce. Under such circumstances the new mortgage could then come along with its own set of fees.

The possibility of refinancing may need to be considered should one of the spouses wish to hold onto the house. In certain circumstances this could mean having the names of both spouses are the papers - even when the two are going through the process of divorce. Obviously such an option will not turn out well if the two are no longer speaking to each other.

Any questions concerning asset or property division can be addressed to attorneys that practice in the area of family law. For Chicago residents, these matters should be addressed to attorneys licensed in Illinois as questions may arise under state or local law.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "How to divide property in divorce," Geoff Williams, Oct. 7, 2013

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