One of the most difficult parts of property division for divorcing couples in Illinois might be deciding what happens to the house. People may be happier if they can come to agreement between themselves because they will have little say in what the judge decides. For example, the judge can force the sale of the home. The proceeds from such a sale are not always necessarily split evenly because the judge may take into account that one person spent more on renovations or upkeep than the other and adjust the amount accordingly.

A judge might also give one person the house and the other person the retirement account. While the former person might feel that they have received the better deal, financial experts actually advise against this kind of exchange because the maintenance on a home can mean it is worth far less than a retirement account. A judge may also award the house to the custodial parent, if they can afford it, on the basis that it is in the child’s best interest.

If parents can afford it and the divorce is amicable, one alternative might be for the children to live in the home full time while the parents take turns living there. Another option is for both parents to remain there. One might stay in a guesthouse or basement apartment.

The potential for creative solutions is one reason that divorcing couples might want to give negotiation, mediation or arbitration a try before turning to litigation. If litigation cannot be avoided, they might want to discuss their goals with their respective attorneys. For example, one person might not care very much about keeping the house but might want to fight for a different asset, or one person might prioritize obtaining physical child custody above everything else.