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What to do about “the house” when couples divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 2, 2024 | family law and divorce | 0 comments

Married couples usually share their finances. They might deposit the paychecks of both spouses into a shared checking account. They likely also live together and acquire numerous valuable assets jointly.

The home where they live could very well be the most valuable asset that either spouse owns. Not only do people commit thousands of dollars toward the purchase of a home, but they often also invest in repairs and improvements that make the home more livable and more valuable on the real estate market.

If married couples in Michigan decide to divorce, there may be disagreements about what happens with their marital home. What happens to the house in a Michigan divorce?

There are many potential solutions

Some couples have prenuptial agreements that very clearly outline what should happen with marital property when they divorce. Those with prenuptial agreements already likely negotiated terms about dividing their most valuable assets. Otherwise, spouses need to settle that night issue during their divorce proceedings. Sometimes, only one spouse wants to keep the home. Other times, both spouses would prefer to continue living at the marital home if possible. Spouses can either settle the matter on their own or take the issue to the family courts.

A Michigan family law judge dividing marital property in a litigated situation would look at the totality of the marital estate and make decisions that they believe are fair. Equitable property distribution can be a confusing process, especially when there is an asset that people cannot simply divide, as is the case with real property. One spouse could keep the home while the other accepts other valuable assets, like retirement accounts or vacation homes, in consideration of the value of the home. Other times, it might be the assumption of marital debts that balances out one spouse retaining the marital home.

In rare situations, spouses might agree to continued joint ownership. Other times, spouses may agree to sell the home and split up the proceeds from the transaction in a specific manner. A thorough review of finances, future plans and even physical abilities can help people establish whether they are in a position to seek sole possession of the home after a divorce or not.

Those who set realistic goals when preparing for divorce are often happier with the outcome of the property division process. Determining whether seeking to stay in one’s marital home can be one of the more significant challenges for individuals preparing for divorce in Michigan. Seeking legal guidance can help individuals to make more informed choices in this regard.