How Divorce Impacts Shared Real Estate

Your marital home is the home where you and your spouse lived together during your marriage. It may be the most important piece of property you own because of its value and your attachment to it. One of the most important tasks for completing your divorce is the transfer of real estate as part of the property division ordered by the court.

In Michigan, you and your spouse likely own the real estate as a Tenancy by the Entirety. Tenancy by the Entirety is a form of joint ownership that can only exist between married couples. This type of ownership essentially treats a married couple as one person.

Because this is a unique ownership interest, it is important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you understand the legal consequences of the tenancy by the entirety during the divorce process.

What Happens To A Tenancy By The Entirety In Divorce?

In a tenancy by the entirety, one spouse cannot transfer any interest in the property without the consent of the other spouse. As a result, a creditor of only one spouse cannot attach a lien to real estate held as tenants by the entirety. Only a creditor of both a husband and wife can attach a lien or judgment against such property, while the parties are both living and married.

A tenancy by the entirety is terminated upon the divorce of the owners. The property automatically converts to a tenancy in common upon entry of the final judgment of divorce. A preexisting judgment against an individual spouse can attach to the real estate interest immediately upon his or her divorce. Even if there are no liens in place at the time of the divorce, liens are sometimes filed between the time of the divorce and the subsequent transfer of the real estate from the divorcing parties to the subsequent owner.

Protecting Your Interests

The failure to effectively deal with title issues in connection with a divorce can cause severe problems because creditors of a former spouse, like other bona fide purchasers for value without notice, can exercise their power to enforce record title. The failure to record an agreement or a final order of divorce providing for the transfer of real estate can result in the loss of the property to creditors of either former spouse. You need an experienced lawyer looking out for you.

Talk To Our Attorney About Your Case

We welcome the opportunity to speak with you about your situation. To schedule a free initial phone consultation, please complete the contact form or call our Livingston County office at 810-222-5703.