Getting divorced, especially after a long marriage, means pulling apart two lives that have become inextricably woven together. The memories you’ve shared, the debts you’ve collected, the things you’ve bought along the way. But for most couples in Michigan, the largest and most valuable item they have to figure out is their home. And because of the emotional attachment factor, and the amount of money involved, this can be a major undertaking!
So what should you do with your house when you get divorced?
What’s the right move? Should you keep the house and send your spouse packing? Should they get to keep it while you look for a new place to live? Or should you get rid of it all together – sell it (or even rent it) – and split the profits? It’s a big decision, and one that hinges on a lot of factors that are different for every divorcing couple…
What does your prenup say about the house?
If your prenup covers this issue, then you may not have to make a decision. For example, if one of you already owned the house before you two got married, and that pre-marital ownership was covered in the prenup, then you don’t have to worry about it. If you bought or inherited the house you and your soon-to-be-ex live in, and you were smart enough to get a prenup saying that the house comes back to you (and only you) in the event of a divorce, then you’re all set. Ditto if your spouse owned it first and the prenup covers that.
But what about if you bought it together after marriage?
This is the case for many married couples – they purchased their home together after tying the knot and now they need to decide what to do with it. So let’s take a look at your options:
- You could sell your home and split the profits. (If your home is too expensive for either of you to keep on your own, then this is probably the right option for you.)
- One of you could buy the other one out, and stay in the home. (If one of you can afford to keep the house on your single income, but the home is legally considered joint-marital property, then you could talk to your attorney about buying your spouse out for their half and keeping the house yourself.)
- One spouse could keep the home and forfeit other items of value. (For example: If you could afford to keep the home on your own, but can’t afford to pay off your spouse’s portion, you could always offer to keep it and allow your spouse to have other assets whose accumulated value equals their potion of the home.)
Nothing is a given when dividing assets in a divorce!
As Brandy Thompson points out, there are plenty of situations where unique circumstances mean that a couple doesn’t get what they expected. “You may need to take into consideration factors like premarital equity, if one of you owned the home prior to the marriage. Or, in instances where one of you used premarital assets for a down payment. These are cases where you might not necessarily be able to split the profits, but maybe a portion after the premarital interest has been determined and has been deducted.” This is why a knowledgeable attorney is so important!
Talk to your divorce attorney about your best options in this situation.
In situations where you have a lot of emotion invested, it can be really hard to make unbiased decisions. And when it comes to your future and your finances, that’s exactly what you need – a critical eye that looks at the facts and takes everything into account. And that’s the role of a divorce attorney. So if you’re considering a divorce, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245 today and get help from one of our experienced family law attorneys. We’ve been helping mid-Michigan folks for decades with their divorces, and we can help you too.