Forward Thinking Family Law Since 1994

Moving Out of the Family Home does not Abandon this Asset

There are common myths and misconceptions in family law in Michigan.

One of them is if.....

If I move out of the marital home before the divorce is final, then I will lose my rights in the home and any personal property left behind.

Reality

Typically, under Michigan law, all assets that were acquired during a marriage are divided equally.  This means that any equity in a marital home that accrued during the marriage usually will be  divided equally.  There are many ways to ensure that both parties receive that equity when the divorce if finalized, for example:  a cash payment; exchange for other marital property; or through a transfer of retirement or investment accounts.  Just because one party moves out of the marital home does not mean that person loses  their share of the marital equity or any marital personal property left in the home. However, usually, a person who moves out still has to bear their share of the marital expenses related to that home.  If a person moves out but stops paying their share of the expenses that he or she paid during the marriage, a Judge might order that person to continue the status quo and possibly order him or her to pay for their share of any previous bills he or she left unpaid since moving out.

In a nutshell, sometimes living separately from your spouse during the divorce process is a smart way to keep emotions and living conditions tolerable during the transition from living as a married couple to single, divorced individuals. As long as a party can afford to continue to pay the marital expenses he or she was paying prior to moving out and still afford to move out, then that party usually can move out of the marital home with the reasonable expectation that their share of the marital equity (or any other marital property) will be preserved until there is a final decision in the Divorce Case.  As in any legal matter, other factors can complicate the analysis (such as whether the marital home is "under water" or where other extenuating factors exists), so it always is critical to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help evaluate your individual situation.