The marital home holds all of your family memories. Keeping it makes sense, but discarding it is also an option if doing so would bring up too much pain. However, Michigan uses equitable distribution to divide property which can complicate things. In most divorces, the best option is for the two parties to discuss and agree on what to do with the home.
Negotiating with your ex
Coming to an agreement with your ex-spouse may take a load off both of your shoulders as it would reduce your time in court and the expenses of litigation. You might explore the following options:
- If you have children, the spouse with physical custody may want to keep the home. Divorce can be rough on children, but retaining the family home may give them some stability.
- The spouse who keeps the home can “buy out” the other’s share or offer them an equally valuable marital asset.
- If neither of you is interested in keeping the house, you may also elect to sell the house and divide the profits.
Whatever you decide must be put in writing through a settlement agreement and presented in court during the final divorce hearing.
Now, not everyone is comfortable discussing terms with their ex. Mediation may be preferable for divorcing parties who cannot tolerate each other.
Divorce mediation is a valuable tool for settling disagreements between spouses. An unbiased third party, the mediator, will facilitate the negotiation process. They can help the parties identify their issues, let them provide solutions and then steer them toward an option that satisfies everyone involved.
Letting the court decide
If you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can’t resolve house and divorce issues, a judge can decide for you. A judge will listen to arguments on both sides, question witnesses, assess evidence and consider the facts of the marriage before making a decision. Understandably, it can take a long time and cost a lot of money.
Divorce trials can drag on for months or even years. Whether it is to evaluate a settlement agreement, help with trial preparation or file paperwork, a lawyer can be an invaluable resource in divorce. They can also be a powerful ally if you intend to fight for your home or believe you are not getting a fair share.