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Divorces & Finances- Sharing the Home During Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

property division, divorce, cohabitation, lawyer, attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer, Chicago divorceThe definition of marital separation is changing. Traditionally, it involved the movement of one or both spouses out of the marital home into smaller houses, or possibly an apartment across town. As more couples deal with upside-down mortgages and a buyer's housing market, the apartment across town becomes the apartment in the basement.

 Many married individuals cannot afford the luxury of a true separation and family law judges are recognizing these financial complexities when making determinations about separation requirements. Ending a marriage often involves the disposition of the marital home. Whether you decide to sell the home and split the proceeds during asset division, or to refinance and “buy out” your spouse, the family home is often the most valuable asset for division in a divorce proceeding. The bursting of the real estate bubble left many married couples owing more than their houses are worth, and selling would leave the family in financial ruins. Those who do choose to sell must wait while their houses sit on the market for months or even years with no response. The only viable alternative is to separate under the same roof in hopes of a real estate turn-around. For some couples, the decision to stay under the same roof is centered around the well-being of the children. Maintaining a sense of stability and routine is just as important as maintaining a roof over their heads. Many parents decide that co-parenting is the best course of action for the children, even in the midst of a painful separation. This can prove beneficial because many judges prefer for parents to make decisions about their children, without necessary intrusion from the court.  How Cohabitation Affects Separation Requirements

Illinois law requires at least a six month separation period before a couple will be granted. divorce. Some states are strict in their definition of separation, mandating that the parties live in completely separate dwellings. In some jurisdictions, one night of cohabitation is enough to break the continuity of separation. Other states are much more liberal, allowing for co-habitation, as long as you maintain different bedrooms and refrain from sexual intercourse throughout the separation. Many jurisdictions fall in the middle of the spectrum, using a totality of the circumstances model to determine whether a true separation has occurred.

 In the past, some Illinois courts have found parties to have met the separation requirement even while living under the same roof. With the widespread phenomena of financial hardship, recent trends suggest that more family court judges are willing to grant divorces for separations occurring under one roof. From a public policy standpoint, separation is meant as a cooling off period, to let feelings settle and perhaps bring about reconciliation. The argument for divorce can be strengthened when reconciliation does not occur among parties under the same roof.  Contact an Illinois Divorce Lawyer An experienced Illinois divorce attorney can advise you about the separation requirements in your case and help you determine whether your housing decisions will impede the process of your divorce. Contact Goostree Law Group, P.C. for a consultation today.
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