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Residential home ownership options in a divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 29, 2020 | property division |

While getting ownership of the residential home is considered a primary aim in property division in Michigan, this option may not always be the most practical one. Couples going through a divorce need to understand how much money goes into maintaining the house and its upkeep. They need to figure out if it is sustainable on one income or if the house is too big for one person to manage on their own. When it comes to the residential home, there are a few options ex-spouses-to-be have.

Option 1: Both spouses keep the house

If both the parties owe more money on the house than it is worth, if they cannot afford separate houses, or to maintain stability for the children, they may decide to keep the residential home. This could mean both share the house but in their own portion, or one spouse moves out but continues to pay the mortgage on it. This could also mean that parents revolve in and out of the house while the children remain in the house, in a nesting custody arrangement. Whatever the reason, couples may decide they want to continue sharing ownership of the house and its cost. However, this option usually does not work out in the long run and couples either decide to sell the house or buy the other one out.

Option 2: Buying one spouse out

One of the best ways to become the sole owner of the house is by refinancing the mortgage so the other spouse is no longer a joint owner. This can free up cash to buy out the other partner’s share. However, one partner can usually not afford the house and may find it difficult to qualify for a loan, depending on how the divorce affected their finances. Additionally, couples may not be able to agree on the value of the house.

Option 3: Selling the house outright

The easiest way to untangle finances from one another is to sell the house outright and divide the equity amongst the two parties. this can be a difficult decision, as it means letting go of all the memories made in the house and may involve more change for the children who may already be going through an emotional upheaval.

Regardless of the choice parties make, they should consider speaking to an experienced attorney and discussing each option with him or her.