When you are planning for a divorce in Michigan, one of the major issues you are likely contemplating is how your property will be divided. As you may know, under Michigan law, courts use a theory of equitable distribution to divide marital property. This means that courts look at a wide variety of factors to determine a division of marital property that would be fair to both parties. Most often when courts divide marital property and a marital home is involved, the house will be sold and the court will distribute the profits based on what is equitable to the parties. However, in some cases, one of the parties wants to remain in the home.
Typically, one spouse will keep the family home either because the court distributes it in the process of property division or because the spouses enter into a marital settlement agreement. Yet keeping the home might not be the best option for everyone. We want to discuss some of the potential downsides with you.
Why Would One Spouse Want to Keep the Home?
To consider the downsides of keeping the house in your divorce, it will be important to weigh the limitations of retaining the home against the benefits. There are a variety of reasons that one spouse might want to keep the family residence. For example, the couple may have minor children from the marriage, and one of the spouses might want to remain in the home as a point of stability for the kids. Other reasons may exist, too.
But when you are thinking about negotiating with your spouse to keep the house, you should consider the drawbacks.
You Will Need to Pay Taxes on the House
Even if you can afford the monthly mortgage payment on your home, you will need to take into account the cost of taxes. Depending upon where in Michigan your house is located, your taxes could end up being quite expensive.
Consider Homeowner Association Dues
If you live in a neighborhood with a homeowners association (HOA), you will need to pay HOA dues or fees on a monthly basis in addition to paying your mortgage. These can be expensive, and they can increase.
Upkeep on the Property can be Costly
In addition to monthly or yearly costs that you can anticipate like taxes and HOA fees, the upkeep on a house can be extremely expensive. If you have an older home, major appliances can break and require replacing, and you may even need to do major repairs on the house itself. Even if you own a relatively new home, upkeep issues can still catch you off-guard. If keeping the house and making high monthly mortgage payments will result in your living paycheck-to-paycheck, an unexpected repair could end up setting you back.
Refinancing May Be Necessary
If you are awarded your home, you may have to refinance the mortgage to remove your spouse’s name, which could be difficult and expensive.
Discuss Your Situation with a Michigan Divorce Lawyer
If you want to keep the house in your divorce but have concerns, an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer can talk with you about property division and marital settlement agreements. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins for more information.