Who gets the house when a couple calls it quits?

When Michigan couples decide it is time to end a marriage, there are all kinds of decisions to be made. Who gets custody of the kids, who takes on what debt and who gets which assets are all good examples of these decisions. One important one that couples face is what to do with the family home. If there is a mortgage on the house, couples have a few options.

According to Nerdwallet, the first thing a couple should do is have the home appraised to determine the value. It is suggested that you get two appraisals for your home so you have an accurate, independent record of the value. Both individuals must agree on the value of their home before they can move forward with determining if there is equity in it.

The first thing couples can do is sell the home and split the extra. This is the cleanest way to completely untangle from each other’s lives, but can be difficult if there are still young children in the home who want to stay somewhere familiar.

Another option is to have one ex keep the house. If this happens, it is a good idea to refinance the house in that spouse’s name. The spouse who moves out then has no obligation to pay the debt, a new mortgage is created and any equity in the home is liquidated.

The third option is for the couple to keep the house together. This requires an amicable agreement between both individuals. If the housing market is bad or neither spouse can afford to buy the house, you may not want to sell it. If this is your choice, you should have an agreement about who pays the mortgage and when.

There are other, creative ways to handle the mortgage when a marriage ends. This is a particularly sensitive issue if children are involved. A family law attorney can provide some alternative ideas if these do not work for you.

This is for educational purposes and should not be interpreted as legal advice.