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Michigan Family Law Blog

Friday, February 7, 2020

In a Michigan Divorce, Who Gets The House?

The house and other real estate is considered part of the property division involved in a divorce.  If one party wants to keep the house, then typically that spouse would have to "buy-out" the other spouse's fifty (50%) percent equity or offset that equity with other property of roughly equal value.  If neither party wants the house, then it will typically be sold and the parties will share the proceeds.   The court will divide all of the property in an "equitable" manner.  Usually this means roughly equal but that is not always true, sometimes the court will divide the property in a manner that awards one person slightly more of the property. 

Five Factors That Impact Property Division

1. Duration of the Marriage

In cases of short-term marriages, the court will generally attempt to restore the spouses to the states they were in before the marriage.  This means that most of the property that either party owned before the marriage and even potentially some property that was purchased during the marriage will be awarded to the party that owned or acquired that property.  The longer the marriage, the more likely that everything will be subject to division.

2. Age of the Parties

The age of each spouse will be taken into account when dividing property and awarding alimony or spousal support.  The younger the parties, the more likely that the court will consider either restoring the parties to their pre-marital holdings or award an exactly equal division of the property depending on the length of the marriage.  The older one of the parties' may be, the more likely the court may consider some slight offsets depending on other factors involved.

3. Earning Abilities of The Parties

If one spouse earns significantly more than the other spouse, then the court may consider granting the spouse that earns less, slightly more of the property.  The court may consider that the spouse with the greater earning power will have the ability to replace and restore their share of the property while the other spouse may have greater need.  This can have a greater bearing when children are involved and it comes to providing a proper home environment for the children at each spouse's home.

4. Health of the Parties

A judge may consider the health of each of the spouses.  If one spouse is in particularly poor health, the circumstances may dictate that spouse needs a greater share of the funds or property to help them get through life after the divorce.  It might make more sense to grant this person additional property that may have greater value because the property has been modified to assist the person.

5. Life Necessities and Circumstances of the Parties

The court may consider whether one party has sacrificed earnings or a career in furtherance of the family.  Where one party has been the primary wage earner that has been able to further their career while the other party has spent more time taking care of the home and the family, the court may consider granting more property to the party that has sacrificed the career.  Also if one party has greater separate property (some property, such as inheritances or premarital property that has not been contributed to during the marriage remains the separate property of that spouse - this is addressed in other blog posts) then the court may take that into account when dividing the marital property.

Other Factors That Impact Property Division In Michigan

There are 9 factors listed in the seminal Sparks v Sparks case that judges use when examining and dividing property.  It is important to carefully review each factor that could potentially impact your divorce case with an experienced family law attorney. 

Contact Our Michigan Divorce Attorney To Discuss Your Case

Custody issues are challenging. Discuss your concerns with our Michigan divorce attorney to develop a strategy to protect you and your children during the divorce action. Contact Michigan divorce attorney Cameron C. Goulding today.


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