Traverse City is a beautiful place for people in northern Michigan to call home. It is one of the largest cities in the northern Lower Peninsula, and it has all of the amenities of a major city combined with the attractions you might find in a resort town.
People who live in Traverse City tend to head to the countryside during the summer to avoid the tourism. Many families decide to purchase a lake house on one of the many beautiful lakes surrounding Traverse City. Whether you have a vacation home on Torch Lake or Elk Lake, that property probably has substantial value on the real estate market.
Lake properties in Michigan are in high demand, especially those on the most beautiful and popular bodies of water near Traverse City. If you are on your way to a divorce, you may wonder about what will happen to your lake house during divorce proceedings. Understanding more about Michigan's divorce laws can help you predict how the courts may handle your lake home.
Equitable distribution is the primary focus of the courts
When determining how to divide your assets and debts, Michigan family courts look to create solutions that are equitable and fair for both spouses. In other words, instead of splitting your assets and debts equally down the middle, the judge in your case will look at your family's circumstances.
The income and economic circumstances of each spouse, the length of the marriage and the contributions of each spouse to the family's overall assets will all impact how the judge decides to distribute your property. In some cases, the courts can allocate specific assets to one spouse or the other. Other times, they may order the sale or liquidation of certain assets, with the spouses splitting up the proceeds from that sale.
You may need to build a case for your ongoing ownership of the lake house
Depending on the circumstances of your marriage, it may be easier for the courts to order the sale of a second home than to attempt to split the equity between spouses. If you hope to retain a vacation home or secondary property, you need to make sure that the courts know about that desire.
You may suggest certain ways of addressing the vacation home to the courts and your ex. However, it's important to understand that unless you reach terms for an uncontested divorce with your spouse, the courts will have the final say in who receives which assets from your marriage.
Regardless of whether you want the lake house because it has fun memories of your family or because of its prime location and real estate value, you should prepare yourself for the possibility that the courts may expect you to sell the home and split the value of the acquired equity in the property. For those who have strong attachments to specific assets, working with your ex to create an uncontested asset division plan may be the best way to handle divorce.