Should I Try to Keep the House in My Divorce?

When you are planning to get divorced in Michigan and have shared your home with your spouse for many years or even decades, you might be thinking that it is in your best interest to do everything you can to keep the home. In particular, Michigan spouses who are getting divorced and still have young children from the marriage may believe that keeping their kids in the same house is the best thing to do. While one spouse keeping the marital home might make sense in certain cases, such a decision can often result in long-term difficulties that the spouse was not anticipating. We will tell you more about the pros and cons of keeping your house in your divorce.

Benefits to Keeping Your Home in Your Michigan Divorce

One obvious benefit to keeping your marital home is that you will not have to move as a result of getting divorced. If you have children from the marriage, you will be able to keep them in the home where they currently live when it is your turn for parenting time. For some parents, ensuring that at least one of them stays in the marital home is a way of creating stability for the kids and making sure that they remain in the same house.

When it comes to property division, sentimental value-as well as other forms of value that do not have a market equivalent-can mean a lot. As such, being able to keep the house during the process of property division, or during a property settlement, might feel like a big win. However, there can be major drawbacks to keeping the family house, and it is important to consider these before trying to negotiate with your spouse to keep your home.

Drawbacks to Keeping Your Marital Home in a Property Settlement

Most significantly, a family house often comes with additional costs that are not accounted for during property division or a property settlement. For instance, continuing to own a home after a divorce means that the owner will be responsible for taxes, maintenance on the home, possible refinancing and/or commissions if there is a subsequent sale. When one spouse pushes to keep the home as part of the property settlement, he or she could end up with a lot of unexpected costs as a result, and could end up giving up other liquid assets (which could help with taxes and the upkeep on the property) in order to retain the house.

For example, imagine that Spouse A really wants to keep the house and Spouse B does not have as much of an interest in staying in the property. The court determines that the marital assets total approximately $500,000, and the house is worth $300,000. The court might determine, based on a number of different factors in the Michigan divorce statutes, that it is equitable to award Spouse A approximately $300,000 of the marital assets and to award Spouse B approximately $200,000 of the marital assets. The assets include a home-which has been paid off-as well as stocks, savings accounts, and other investments. Since Spouse A wants to keep the house so much, she could end up with the house only, and Spouse B could get the other assets. This would leave Spouse A without any assets to pay property taxes or to deal with a major and unexpected repair to the home.

Contact a Michigan Divorce Lawyer

If you have questions about property division in Michigan, you should speak with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney for more information. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins today.