For many Illinois couples, the largest asset they own is the family home. When a couple decides to divorce, the disposition of this particular asset requires a great deal of consideration, especially since few people own their homes outright these days. Even so, the mortgage is not the only consideration when it comes to whether to keep the home.

When computing whether one person could afford to keep the home, insurance, maintenance, taxes and more need to be included with the mortgage payment. The other consideration is the upkeep of the home. Maintaining the yard, cleaning the windows and repairing or replacing major appliances, including the HVAC system or the furnace could drive up the cost of the house even further. Finally, there is the question of buying out the other party’s interest in the home.

The other option is to sell the home and split the proceeds, if any. This may seem like the best option, but the parties must consider that selling a home takes time. More than likely, the sale will not happen before the divorce could be finalized unless the parties are lucky. This means either waiting to finalize the divorce until the home sells or making an ironclad agreement regarding what happens when it sells. The danger is that if one party fails to keep his or her end of the bargain, it would probably mean going back to court.

Making this decision involves a lot of moving parts. If keeping the home, financing may be an issue, along with all of the other costs that accompany homeownership. If selling the home, waiting for a deal to go through could take a significant amount of time during which both parties remain responsible for the mortgage loan and any other payments. It may help to discuss all the pros and cons of what to do with the marital home with a family law attorney who can address any concerns and questions the client may have.