Dower Rights

Legal Questions

I was told that the "Dower Rights" Law would protect me in purchasing a new home without my husband gaining equity.

I am beginning the process of divorce. I was told by a realtor that the "Dower Rights" Law in Michigan would protect me in purchasing a new home in my name without my husband being able to gain half of the equity of my new home. Does this Dower Rights law exist?

Dower rights have long been provided to women by Michigan Law. If your husband buys property while married, you as his wife would have dower rights to it. Generally, a husband cannot sell property without his wifeís signature because of the wifeís dower rights in the property. However, Dower rights protect a wife; they do not provide any rights to a husband. You can own and sell property without your husband having any interest in the property. I do want to note that divorce law may provide a different result. If you do buy property prior to the divorce, the divorce judge has the ability to make the husband and wife provide a listing of all of their property, whether jointly or separately owned. The judge can then impose by decision a reasonable division of the property, which division would take into consideration that you own this separate property and have value in it that should be considered.

Attorney: Mark Miller

Miller Johnson Schroeder, PLC
728 Pleasant Street #101
St. Joseph, Michigan, 49085
(269) 983-1000

Our Michigan office is centrally located in Berrien County, enabling our lawyers to serve clients throughout "Southwest Michigan", including St. Joseph, Stevensville, Benton Harbor, Bridgman, Baroda, and the surrounding areas.

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