Question: 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?
Answer: 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 wife's signature because of the wife's 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