General Question

tivo's avatar

Can my spouse and I get a divorce in Illinois but still live in the same house?

Asked by tivo (7points) February 15th, 2011

My spouse and I have agreed to a non-contested divorce here in Illinois. Our primary concerns are minimizing the impact to our 2 sons still in high school, and also the financial impact given our inability to sell our home. Is there any legal reasons we can’t proceed with a normal divorce, but still choose to live in the same house until such time that we either sell the house or the kids finish school?

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9 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

I’m wondering why a divorce is even necessary? Many people simply take separate bedrooms, yet still continue to keep the married benefits of taxes, insurance, and such.

I can’t imagine a law that says divorced people have to live in separate houses, but I’m not a lawyer.

iamthemob's avatar

There might be some issue in some states about what the two of you own in terms of interest in the house if you own it as a tenancy by the entireaty. In that case, you’ll want to check out what happens when you get divorced.

Other than that, courts aren’t going to demand that you divide property in a certain way that is contrary to your mutual agreement in most cases. I can’t see them intruding on any such arrangement.

But you both should still be working through attorneys on this, to be sure that (1) the ownership rights are clear, and (2) if one of you gets the house (or already owns it wholly as the only one on the deed) that the other has a proper and binding lease so that they cannot be evicted.

everephebe's avatar

@tivo I can’t think that there would be any legal ramifications. And if there are, I can’t see how they could be enforced against you.

john65pennington's avatar

You can do this. Actually, many people do this to keep their government subsidies and to restore their dating freedom.

I do not agree with it, because it tends to defraud the government.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’m not a lawyer but I was thinking the only issue might be the one of possibly ending up married again, in a common law marriage, but according to this source common law marriage is not legal/legally recognized in Illinois.

But as @iamthemob points out, you should consult with your attorney’s in case there might be some other issues you could run into such as the one he mentioned but I would think that all that would be dealt with in the divorce agreement.

iamthemob's avatar

I don’t think this is defrauding the government in any sense. If divorced, that’s a matter of public record.

bkcunningham's avatar

@tivo the only thing I question is the “living separate and apart” provision in Illinois.

“That the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years and irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage and the court determines that efforts at reconciliation have failed or that future attempts at reconciliation would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family. If the spouses have lived separate and apart for a continuous period of not less than 6 months next preceding the entry of the judgment dissolving the marriage, as evidenced by testimony or affidavits of the spouses, the requirement of living separate and apart for a continuous period in excess of 2 years may be waived upon written stipulation of both spouses filed with the court.”

Glow's avatar

Not sure about the legal reasons, but I was watching the news one time and they were explaining how some couples with kids have found it easier to live together even though they are divorced. It was easier on the kids and easier financially. This was in Florida, where I live. I don’t see why it can’t be true there too?

BarnacleBill's avatar

The only thing you might want to think about possibly changing is how the title to your house is held. If you bought it after you married, then it’s most likely titled in joint survivorship, so that ownership of the house reverts to the surviving spouse in the event of death of the other. An alternative would be Joint Tenants in Common, which means you both own the house, but you own half and your ex-spouse owns half. In the event of death, the half interest in the property becomes part of the estate, and you would be required to buy out the half of the house to the estate in order to get full title.

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