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The renovation divorce: when the home renovation re-designs the family

As Michigan home values have plummeted in the past few years, many homeowners have found themselves unable to sell their homes. With an eye toward making lemonade out of a lemon real estate market, or maybe because the demands of the family mean a bigger home is necessary, some homeowners have taken on home renovations and remodeling projects to expand their homes. Egged on by home renovation and re-design reality television shows, some renovations projects have become expensive, expansive marital property and have literally blown giant holes in the family home and budget.

Unfortunately, the stress of a home renovation project can push some couples to the limit financially, emotionally, and figuratively - revealing all the fissures in a marriage that the couple has previously been able to ignore. While no numbers show the number of Michigan divorce filings caused by a home renovation gone bad, it's no wonder that a remodel can pit a couple against each other from picking out paint colors to clamping down on flashy upgrades in an over-budget renovation.

While a home renovation might be the unusual tipping point for divorce, once a couple decides to divorce during a renovation, they must answer all the normal questions that follow including how to divide their marital property and debts. Who will live in the family home? Where will the kids live? How will it all be paid for? Divorce during a home renovation may be even more complicated: should the couple complete the remodel or renovation? Should they sell the home as-is? Who is authorized to negotiate with the contractors, sub-contractors and suppliers? Who is authorized to work with a real estate broker?

An experienced divorce lawyer can help answer these questions and more about dividing assets and debts during a Michigan marital dissolution.

Source: New York Times: "A Dream Home Undone by Divorce," Penelope Green, Nov. 4, 2009

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