What Happens if One Spouse Refuses to Sell the Home During a Divorce?
When you and your partner divorce in Michigan, the court divides your marital assets fairly and equitably. However, this does not mean that you or your partner will approve of the way the court divides your property.
If you and your spouse owned a home together, but neither of you can or wants to take possession of and responsibility for the marital home, the court may order it to be sold. Any proceeds from the sale would then be split between you and your spouse as the court orders.
Both you and your spouse would need to cooperate in carrying out this court order. If your partner refuses, there are actions that can be taken.
Court Enforces Its Orders Through Contempt
When a court directs you or your spouse to perform a certain action, it is the court’s expectation that it will be completed in a reasonable time frame. Every court and judge has different tolerances for delays, but at some point, the court will run out of patience if you do not comply with its orders.
The court may order the non-compliant party to pay a fine by finding the resistant partner in contempt. The court may also order the party to be held in jail until they are prepared to comply with the court’s orders.
The court uses its contempt powers to coerce the resistant party to voluntarily comply with its orders. Courts use their contempt powers with the belief that most, if not all, individuals will dislike fines, penalties, and jail time more than their commitment to resisting the court’s orders.
A Refusal to Sell May Affect Property Division and Other Orders
The court cannot forge or affix its signature to the necessary sale documents. Nor will a court continue to indefinitely assess fines and penalties against a resistant party. At some point, the divorce will need to continue, and when it does, the court may find ways to penalize the uncooperative party.
Depending on the circumstances, the court may also address a refusal to sell the marital home in defiance of the court’s orders through the divorce decree. If the house remains unsold, the court may order the resistant spouse to take possession and responsibility for the home. In return, the court may give the compliant spouse a greater share of other marital assets.
The same rationale would apply if the resistant spouse were asking for spousal support through the divorce. The court may reduce or even eliminate the alimony award the resistant spouse would have otherwise been able to receive.
Contact Gucciardo Family Law Today
An experienced family lawyer in Michigan can file the necessary motions to request the court hold your spouse in contempt if they refuse to follow orders. Gucciardo Family Law has been assisting the people of Michigan for years in divorce and other family law proceedings. Contact us today to learn how we can serve you and your legal needs.
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