For many couples, a house is the biggest asset they have, so dividing it up in a divorce can be complicated. Couples in Michigan have several options when it comes to deciding who gets the house. Generally, one spouse keeps the house, or the house is sold and they split the proceeds. Of course, things are never that simple, and there are a lot of variables to consider as well.

If one spouse wants to stay in the house, perhaps so the kids won’t have to deal with moving on top of dealing with the divorce, that spouse can buy the other out of their share of the house. This can take the form of actual cash, or the partner who wants to stay may be able to trade the equity in the house for some other marital asset of equal value, such as their share in a retirement account. This option can be a good one if there are other assets to trade and keeping the home is important to one person. However, if the house is the only asset a couple has, it may be more difficult to make this work. If both spouses want to start fresh after the divorce, then selling the house and splitting any equity is an easy choice.

If the couple can’t agree on what to do with the house, then it will be up to a judge to decide. Normally, assets are mingled during a marriage, so even if one spouse bought the house before marriage, it may be a joint asset. This would be the case if the spouse who didn’t own the house contributed significantly to the mortgage or upkeep of the house during the marriage. There are exceptions, of course, which is why asset division can be so complicated.

If you are facing divorce and wondering how to handle asset division, speaking with a lawyer who has experience in these matters may help you make the best possible decision. Even amicable divorces can present difficulties, so having an advocate might help ensure a better outcome in your case.