What Will Happen to Your Home in a Michigan Divorce?
Divorce is a legal and permanent separation, and just as you and your partner joined every part of your life when you married, you must now separate all aspects of your lives. It’s not just an emotional separation, but a physical one, as well, which means you’ll have to divide your marital (joint) assets and debts.
Marital assets are any items of monetary value purchased during the course of your marriage, and they could include both personal property, such as cash, cars, art, furniture, jewelry, and other items of value, and real property, including your family home and any other properties you may own. What does this mean in practical terms? What will happen to your home during the course of a Michigan divorce? Here’s what you should know.
How to Divide a Home
In Michigan, marital property is divided fairly (if not necessarily totally equally). However, it’s not really possible to divide a home, which means there are a couple of possible outcomes. One solution is to sell your home and split the proceeds.
For parents involved in a divorce, however, the goal may be to keep the children in the family home if at all possible. This could be accomplished if one party buys out the other by paying them off for the stake they’re due in the home based on equity, market value, and so on. If a couple owns multiple properties, they may elect to split them so that each gets relatively fair value from the transaction.
Another option is for one spouse to keep the family home while giving other assets of fair/equal value to the ex-spouse, or alternately, taking on more of the shared debt to offset the loss of interest in the home. There are ways for divorcing couples to separate assets without selling a home, but sometimes selling is the easiest or the only real option.
Marital versus Personal Property
It’s important to understand the distinction between marital and personal property. You might think that when you get married, mine and yours naturally becomes ours, but this is not legally true. Each party retains ownership of assets (including real estate) that they owned prior to entering into the marriage, unless the spouse is added to the title.
Further, any assets given as a gift remain the sole property of the receiving party. If you were to receive property as an inheritance when a family member dies, for example, and it is only left to you, not you and your spouse, it is your sole property, not a marital asset, and therefore it need not be divided during the divorce.
There are other extenuating circumstances to consider, of course. Suppose you owned a property prior to marriage, but you and your spouse paid for renovations jointly. The added value to the property could be seen as a marital asset even if the property itself is not.
If you’re going through a divorce and you’re not sure how to divide an asset like a home or other real estate, your best bet is to consult with a qualified attorney. Contact the experts at The Gucciardo Law Firm today at 248-723-5190 today to learn more.
Too much information?
We focus exclusively on family law matters so we are always available to answer your questions and help.