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Posted on in Division of Property

Preparing to Sell Your House During DivorceMany divorcing couples conclude that selling their house is the best way to handle their marital home. It is difficult to equitably divide their marital properties when one spouse keeps the house, and the cost of owning the home may be too great for one person on their own. By selling the home instead, they can divide the money they receive in the sale and use it towards expenses, such as buying or renting a new home. If you have sold your home before, you understand that it takes a great effort to prepare your home for sale and find a buyer. Unfortunately, your divorce is taking up much of the energy that you might normally devote to the sale. There are several actions that you can take to help with the sale process:

  1. Keep the House Occupied: It is natural for one of you to move out of the house once the divorce process has started. The other spouse should continue living in the house until the sale is finalized, even if they would prefer to move into their new home before then. It is more difficult to sell a house that is empty of people or possessions. Paying to stage furniture and appliances in the house is an extra expense and still less attractive to buyers than you living in the house.
  2. Fill in Empty Spaces: When one spouse removes their possessions from the house, it can leave unattractive empty spaces in rooms. You should spread out your remaining possessions to fill in those spaces and give the house a more balanced look.
  3. Invest in Maintenance: You do not want home maintenance issues to decrease the sale value of your house. You need to assess your home for necessary repairs and try to fix the issues before you put the house on the market. Because you will both be profiting from the sale, it is reasonable to share the maintenance costs with your spouse.
  4. Find a Divorce-Experienced Seller: When selling your home and divorcing at the same time, you need a real estate agent to manage the sale while also understanding how the divorce changes the process. Divorcing couples are different than other co-owners because they are under additional stress and often not communicating with each other. The agent may need to take on more responsibility in the sale process and make sure both spouses feel like their needs are being met.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Your house may be the most valuable and complicated property you will have to include in your divorce agreement. A Kane County divorce lawyer at Goostree Law Group has experience with all manner of house-related issues in a divorce. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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Posted on in Divorce Finances

Affording a New House as a Single ParentWhen parents divorce, at least one of them must find a new home for them to live with their children. In some cases, both parents are searching for a home if they sell their marital home. It can be difficult to purchase a house as a single parent. You must find a home that is within your price range but still meets your family’s needs. It may also be more difficult to receive a mortgage as a single parent. To purchase a home, you will need to plan ahead and use the resources available from your divorce agreement.

Assess Your Situation

Before hitting the housing market, you must identify what you need and what you can afford. Your needs may depend on how many children you have and their ages. Young children of the same gender may be fine with sharing a room, but older children need more privacy and space. Your housing expenses are a major component of your budget after divorce. Besides your job income and living expenses, you must consider divorce-related assets and expenses, such as:

It may be unwise to devote all of your available assets toward purchasing a home if you can find an acceptable home at a lower cost.

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Could a Reverse Mortgage Help Your Gray Divorce?It can be difficult to continue to make house mortgage payments on your own after your divorce. However, you may be able to keep your marital home for the foreseeable future if you are able to get a reverse mortgage on your house. Reverse mortgages are available to people who are at least 62 years old and have a large amount of equity in their home – usually at least 50 percent. You use the money you receive from a reverse mortgage to pay off the remainder of what you owe on your home mortgage, with the surplus available for other expenses. Gray divorcees should consider whether a reverse mortgage could help them during the division of property, though there are risks.

How It Works

Assuming that you qualify, you can apply for a reverse mortgage – also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage – with lenders who specialize in this type of loan. The amount of money that you can borrow will increase in conjunction with your age and the value of the property. With a reverse mortgage, you no longer make mortgage payments on your home or payments on the loan as long as you remain in the house. The loan and interest are due when:

  • You die;
  • You decide to sell or leave the home;
  • The home is unoccupied for a stipulated amount of time; or
  • The lender forecloses on your home.

The lender recuperates the money from the reverse mortgage when selling the home. You cannot owe more on the loan than your property is worth, but the lender will protect its investment by requiring you to keep up with property taxes, home owner’s insurance, and maintenance of the property. Failing to meet these standards allows the lender to foreclose on the property.

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Many Housing Options Available During DivorceChoosing where you will live is one of your most immediate concerns when you file for divorce but also one of the most consequential decisions you will make. The spouse who lives in the marital home will have an advantage when deciding who will keep the home during the division of property. When there are children involved, it is logical for the primary parent to stay in the home with the children. Absent children, you have more flexibility in deciding your living arrangements. Each option has its own financial and practical implications.

Keeping the Home

The instinct of many divorcees is to try to stay in the marital home and retain possession of it after divorce. The home is likely the most valuable property in your marriage and something you have greatly invested in. There is also an emotional benefit to keeping some stability in your living situation while going through a turbulent divorce. However, owning the home without your spouse can be expensive. You must consider whether you can afford:

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Reasons to Sell or Keep Your House During a DivorceHouse ownership can be difficult to negotiate during a divorce because it is one of the most valuable properties in a marriage. In Illinois, marital property is equitably divided during a divorce, which means it is split fairly but not always evenly. In many cases, one spouse keeps the house, while the other spouse receives compensation through money or other assets. Spouses can also choose to sell the house and divide the proceeds. There are advantages and disadvantages to selling a marital house.

Reasons to Sell the House

  • When you sell the house, you have an actual monetary value for it instead of an estimated value. Knowing the actual value can help in negotiating an equitable division.
  • If you cannot agree on ownership of the house, selling it may be the only way you can reach an agreement. When negotiations are at an impasse, the court will decide how to divide the value of the house and may order you to sell it anyway.
  • While you shared the expenses when married, owning the house individually shifts the mortgage, utility, maintenance and property tax costs to you. Your ability to afford the house may depend on the spousal support payments you receive.
  • If you want to keep the house, you may need to give up several other marital assets. Selling the house allows you to share its value, instead of having to compensate your spouse with other assets.
  • Depending on the volatility of your marriage, you may want to leave the house because of negative memories you have of it.

Reasons to Keep the House

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