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Property division: What happens to our family home?

Property division: What happens to our family home?

There are many emotions wrapped up with divorce, but couples must also realize a divorce is like a financial transaction. Divorce outcomes in Michigan regarding property division should be driven by logic, rather than emotions, especially when it comes to the family home. It’s a difficult thing to do since there are so many memories wrapped up in a home a family has shared for perhaps many years. This is one of the reasons why divorce should be thought about carefully before making a final decision to end a marriage. 

Asset or liability? 

A family home can be considered in a number of ways. Some may see the home as an asset with a vast amount of built-up equity, while others may think of it as a liability requiring major upkeep. If one spouse has more of a sentimental attachment to the home, it may cause him or her to fight for it even when it may not be in their best interests. Here are some options pertaining to the family home so a more informed decision can be made about its future: 

  • Sell the home. This is the most common approach most divorcing couples take. If there is a mortgage on the home, selling it frees each person from mortgage payments and ongoing upkeep, not to mention repair costs and utility bills, insurance, etc. If there is equity in the home, it also gives each person some funds to start a post-divorce life. 
  • Barter. Even if one person wants to keep the house or get rid of it, negotiating with a spouse exchanging the home for other assets may work out well. The value of the home must be considered since the spouse wanting to keep it may have to give up sizeable assets like a retirement fund. 
  • Keep the home. There is the option of keeping the home with a former spouse, but it could be awkward if the relationship is less than amicable. By keeping it, equity will continue to be built up. Perhaps it could be used as an income property or may provide stability for younger children. 

Some creativity is allowed when it comes to property division in Michigan. However, any decisions made may have financial implications in the future. It’s important to make decisions calmly and rationally and with assistance if need be.  

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