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Home and Property Division

Grands Rapids Divorce Law Firm for the Division of Your Home and Property

Getting a divorce can be an emotionally complicated experience for everyone involved, including the spouses and their kids.  When two spouses decide to go their separate ways, it can also raise a number of legal questions.  What to do with the family home and other property is often near the top of the list.

The Grand Rapids divorce lawyers at Kraayeveld Law have decades of combined experience helping clients resolve property division and other issues.  We understand the stress that can come with getting a divorce.  Our attorneys give the people we represent the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we are working proactively to make the legal process as smooth as possible.

That starts with a personalized approach to divorce cases.  We take the time to fully understand our clients’ unique individual situations and needs and craft a legal strategy accordingly.  That includes making every attempt to avoid long, extended courtroom battles through negotiated settlements.

Our Grand Rapids Divorce Law Firm Can Help You Determine Potential Marital Property

Michigan law classifies assets and other property into two categories: martial and separate. Marital property is divided among the spouses during a divorce, while separate property is not. That classification applies to both assets and debts.

Marital Property

In Michigan, marital property generally refers to nearly all of the property that either or both spouses obtain during the course of a marriage.  If a couple purchases a home after they get married, for example, the house is generally considered marital property.  The same goes for money earned through work and investment, as well as most other sources of income.

Separate Property

Separate property in Michigan is usually any asset that one spouse brings to the marriage If, for instance, one spouse owns a home before a couple marries, it could be considered that spouse’s separate property in the event they later divorce.  Any increase in the property’s value during the course of the marriage may be considered a marital asset, however, especially if the spouses improved or invested in it during the marriage.  Complicated legal questions can come up when separate assets, such as bank accounts and payments, are comingled during the marriage.

There are some major exceptions to the general rule that assets obtained during the marriage are marital property.  If one spouse gains property as a gift or through inheritance during the marriage and keeps it separate, it should  not be considered marital property.  Likewise, some injury awards may be considered separate property if they are kept separate.    Lastly, even all the above general provisions have several exceptions yet again, such as one spouse having a need for additional assets.  In sum, the division of assets and determination of what is marital and separate can be very complicated and should be discussed with an experienced family law attorney.

Michigan Laws Dividing Marital Property

Michigan law requires property to be divided fairly among the spouses during a divorce.  It is important to understand that this does not necessarily mean an even split.

There are a number of factors that courts consider when deciding how to divide marital property.  They include the length of the marriage and each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, as well as their ages, health conditions, financial circumstances and earning capacities.  Judges also often look at the spouses’ conduct during the marriage.

The goal is to come up with a split that is fair, given the circumstances. Our Grand Rapids divorce law firm will be there with you every step of the way to ensure you obtain the best outcome possible.

Who Gets the House in a Michigan Divorce?

In many cases, it’s simply not feasible to physically divide an asset.  A home, for example, cannot just be chopped in half.  Instead, divorcing spouses sometimes are required to sell the home and divide the proceeds after paying off the mortgage and other related costs.  

In other situations, including divorces involving the parents of children, one spouse may want to stay in the home.  This is especially true in the dissolution of long-term marriages.  To do so, he or she will likely have to buy out the other spouse’s interest in the property.

Before reaching a decision who will receive the home,  the spouses have to determine how much the house is worth.  The parties may agree to a value for the home, they may need to obtain one or more appraisals to determine the value of the house and the judge may decide the value of the home.  Once that value has been determined, any associated debts like a mortgage, home equity loan, outstanding taxes and sometimes anticipated realtor fees and closing costs will be deducted to determine a net value.

The division of property and assets during a divorce can be confusing. Let our Grand Rapids Divorce Law Firm help you  to ensure you obtain everything to which you are entitled.

If you are considering getting a divorce or dealing with property division, alimony, child support and other issues, it’s important that you seek the assistance of a seasoned family law attorney.  At Kraayeveld Law, our Grand Rapids divorce attorneys help people untangle their marriages and resolve the related legal issues.  That often includes pursuing alternatives to contentious courtroom battles through settlement negotiations and mediation.

We are conveniently located at 300 State Street SE in Grand Rapids.  Call 616-285-0808 or contact us online to make an appointment to speak with a Grand Rapids divorce lawyer about your situation.