It is not uncommon for married couples to purchase a home together at some point during their marriage. In the event of divorce, the home is then typically the largest asset that must be divided between the couple. Unlike other assets, such as jewelry or art collections, a home cannot simply be split into different pieces with each spouse receiving a portion. So, if you are getting a divorce, what can you expect to happen to the family home?
While many people have good memories associated with the family home, such as raising their children in it, others may not. If your family home only reminds you about the many fights you had with your spouse while you both lived in it, the emotional value of the home may not be enough to fight for it during the divorce. You must assess your emotional attachment to the home to determine if it is worthwhile keeping it.
Once you have established the emotional value of the home, you then must consider if you can afford to keep it. Many different factors will determine this, including your income after the divorce is final, how many expenses you will have in the future, and if you will be able to work the same amount of hours. For example, if you win custody of your children, you may have to work fewer hours post-divorce.
Thirdly, you will also have to determine how much equity is in your home. If you are awarded the home, you will have to pay your spouse their equitable amount of equity accumulated during the marriage, under Michigan’s equitable distribution property division laws. You may also be able to give your spouse a greater share of other assets that are equal to the amount of equity they are owed.
Finally, you should also consider if you qualify for refinancing. Refinancing the mortgage is a must if you are awarded the home so you can remove your spouse’s name from the loan. Not everyone qualifies, though, so you have to know this before you even attempt to keep the home.
If you cannot come to a fair agreement with your spouse about the family home, it is left to the courts to decide. In some instances, a judge may award the home to one spouse and in this case, that spouse must refinance the mortgage and arrange to pay their spouse out, or give them an asset of equal value.
When neither you nor your spouse qualify for refinancing, a judge will determine that you must sell the home, with you and your spouse dividing the proceeds equitably between you. A judge has many factors to take into consideration when making these decisions, and a family lawyer can further explain what those are.
Property division issues are some of the most contentious of any divorce. At Van Den Heuvel Law Office, our Grand Rapids family lawyers will always ensure that your rights are upheld, and will help you keep the assets that are most valuable to you. Call us today or contact us online to schedule a consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.
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