Shawn McKenna | Chicago Divorce Lawyer | Divorce Lawyer Chicago

Who Gets the House? Unveiling the Surprising Truths of Illinois Divorce Battles!

When the unfortunate reality of a divorce looms, one of the most pressing concerns for many is the fate of the family home. As a seasoned Chicago divorce attorney, Shawn McKenna delves into the complexities of Illinois law to shed light on who might have to pack up and who gets to stay.

The Legal Landscape

Illinois law does not automatically grant the family home to one spouse over the other in a divorce. Instead, the decision hinges on a variety of factors, making each case as unique as the individuals involved. Understanding these nuances is crucial for anyone navigating this emotional minefield.

Considerations for Determining Residency

Child Custody and Best Interests**: If children are involved, their well-being takes precedence. The court often favors the parent awarded primary custody, under the assumption that maintaining stability in the children’s living environment is in their best interest.

Financial Contributions and Stability: The court examines each spouse’s financial contributions to the home and their ability to maintain it post-divorce. This includes mortgage payments, taxes, and upkeep.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property: The origin of the property plays a significant role. If the home was acquired by one spouse before the marriage or through inheritance, it might be considered non-marital property and thus awarded to that spouse.

Equitable Distribution: Illinois follows the principle of equitable distribution, meaning the division of property aims to be fair but not necessarily equal. The court evaluates the entire marital estate, including the home, to ensure a just allocation between spouses.

Temporary Orders and Exclusive Possession

In the interim of the divorce proceedings, a court may issue temporary orders regarding who gets to stay in the family home. This is often referred to as exclusive possession. Such orders are typically based on immediate needs and concerns, such as ensuring the safety and well-being of children or protecting one spouse from domestic violence.

The Final Decision: Settlement or Court Order

The ultimate decision can come in two forms: an agreement between the spouses or a court order. Couples have the opportunity to negotiate the fate of their home during the settlement process, potentially reaching a mutually acceptable arrangement. Absent an agreement, the court will make a determination based on the outlined factors and the overarching principle of equitable distribution.

Professional Guidance is Key

The question of who keeps the house in an Illinois divorce is complex, intertwined with legal, financial, and emotional considerations. As such, professional legal guidance from an experienced divorce attorney like Shawn McKenna is invaluable. Navigating this process with expertise ensures that your rights are protected and that you can move forward with clarity and confidence.