Can I Stay in the Marital Home After Divorce?

For many couples, their home is the largest investment they will ever make. During a marriage, of course, the marital home can also take on a great deal of sentimental value. When a marriage ends in divorce, there is often much debate regarding which spouse, if any, will keep the home and continue to live in it once the divorce is completed. If you are considering divorce and are unsure about what to do regarding your family home, there are some things you should consider.

The Home Is Almost Always Marital Property

While there may be exceptions, the home in question in most divorces is a property that was acquired by the couple during their marriage and paid for with marital funds. This means that the home is considered a marital asset and, therefore, must be taken into account in the property division process during divorce. The problem for many couples, however, is that the value of the marital home often exceeds the combined value of all other marital assets, frequently leading to creative settlement agreements.

Options for the Home

If you want to remain in your marital home, you may be able to do so in one of a few ways depending on your situation and your current resources. It may be possible to develop a settlement in which you keep the home but forfeit any claim to the rest of the marital estate. This is not always the best choice, however. Your income may not be sufficient to afford all of the expenses that accompany homeownership while continuing to provide for yourself.

Another option for keeping your home requires you to have fairly substantial non-marital resources. Your settlement could include buyout terms under which you exchange a portion of your own personal property for your spouse’s equitable share of the marital home. The transaction may take place immediately or could be structured so that you would make monthly payments to your spouse until the buyout is complete. A monthly payment arrangement is known as a structured settlement and such settlements are increasingly common in divorce cases.

In many cases, unfortunately, keeping the marital home is simply not feasible for either spouse. When this is the situation, you and your spouse will need to sell the home and divide the proceeds equitably.

Get the Help You Need

When you are going through a divorce, it is important to work closely with a legal professional who can help you understand all of your available options. Contact an experienced Orland Park divorce lawyer and get the guidance you need today. Call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation at any one of the three locations of Kezy & Associates.