To deal with a house in divorce . . .

If you have a house and want to get divorce in Illinois, then you might have questions about what will happen with the house. Check out this FAQ about dealing with a house in a divorce.

Who gets the house?

If you and your spouse agree on all issues you can get an uncontested divorce in Illinois; and in that process, of of you might agree to give the house to the other by using a quit claim deed.

But fighting in court is a different story.

Who will get the house depends on a lot of factors. Some of the factors a judge might consider are the following:

  1. What would be best for kids involved
  2. Who can afford the house after the divorce
  3. Whether the parties disagree on who should get the house

If people getting divorced cannot agree on what to do with the house, the most likely outcome is that the house will be sold. The primary reason for that is often one party cannot buy out the other party, or the party who wants the house cannot afford to refinance the mortgage.

Will we have to sell the house?

In fact, if you and your spouse do not agree on what to do with the house, or on how much the house is worth, it is VERY likely that the judge will order the house sold.

So if you hand your souse want to make sure that neither of you gets the house, a good way to accomplish that would be to fight about it.

I have some news for you. Even though a judge’s job is to hear people argue, judge’s like to make things as simple as possible. That means a judge would probably rather order the house sold instead of hearing two people go back and forth about who should get the house in the divorce.

Who gets to chose a broker?

Here’s a shocker: people sometimes have a hard time coming to agreement when getting divorced.

So how do they choose a real estate broker?

Here are the primary ways a real estate broker can be chosen in an Illinois divorce:

  1. The Parties agree
  2. The judge picks one different from each of the Parties’ choices
  3. There’s a hearing, and the judge decides which of the Parties’ preferred broker will be chosen
  4. The Parties have 2 brokers pick a 3rd broker (pretty stupid)

When I have a client who needs to sell a house during a divorce, I try to refer them to the best brokers I know. And that means people with expertise who don’t screw my clients over to make a quick buck.

You need to be really careful when choosing a broker, because many of them have almost no expertise at all, and further, they will throw their own clients under the bus by encouraging price drops so they make a quick commission.

What about refinancing?

Suppose one person will be awarded the house, but two people are on the mortgage. In that case, the person getting the house will have to refinance so as to allow the other person off the mortgage.

If you are getting divorced an refinancing might be in your future, then it can be a good idea to get all the info as soon as you can. Refinancing can be time consuming, and you don’t want surprises.

About the author: Contact Illinois family law attorney David Wolkowitz at 312-554-5433 or online. He is a family law and divorce attorney serving Chicago and the Counties of Cook, Champaign, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Lake, McHenry, and Will. Areas of practice include divorce, uncontested divorce, child custody, visitation, spousal maintenance, child support, and the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction & Enforcement Act (the “UCCJEA”).