Want to sell your home because you are getting divorced? You do not have to wait until the divorce is final; the home can be sold before or after the divorce. If both of you want to sell it and can agree on a sales price, repairs, who goes where once it is sold and who gets what- then do it.
If you are still negotiating your final divorce settlement when the home sells, we recommend the net proceeds from the sale (after payment of required expenses), be held in an escrow account until most of the financial details of the divorce are resolved. Why? You simply cannot always predict what financial issues may arise in the case – and you want to be sure there is money to pay the outstanding marital debt. You may also want flexibility in negotiating your final settlement agreement. For example, you may want more of your pension or retirement accounts, and in exchange for that, you would be willing to give your spouse more cash, perhaps, from the sale of the house. Illinois is an equitable allocation state- meaning that not all assets have to be divided 50/50 – you want some flexibility in structuring your final financial settlement. Disbursing all of the money from the sale of your home early may limit your flexibility.
If you move out of the house before the divorce is final, and the home has not yet sold, make sure your written agreement, clearly spells out who pay what bills until the home is sold (e.g. who pays the utilities, maintenance and responsibilities for keeping the house presentable for potential purchasers). Generally, once you move out, the other party has exclusive possession of the home until it sells- and you can no longer freely go in and out of the home, even though you still own it. Make sure these boundaries and responsibilities are clearly spelled out, since you usually o not know how long before your house sells.
Written By Sefton Kelly Family Law Founder Attorney Danya Grunyk
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