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Dividing the family home in a divorce

Massachusetts couples who are heading toward divorce and who own a home together might wonder how they will split it. This can be one of the most difficult aspects of property division, and simply agreeing that one party or the other will get the house as part of the divorce does not remove either spouse from mortgage obligations.

The person who keeps the home will need to be approved by the lender once again. It might be necessary at this point to pay a larger down payment or to have someone cosign on the loan.

Having one spouse buy out the other is an option, and the two can split the equity. Premarital assets, a prenuptial agreement and property improvements may all affect how equity is split. In some cases, couples cannot afford to live separately despite a divorce and may remain in the home paying off the mortgage.

A person who is determined to keep the family home might want to discuss the situation with an attorney. It might be financially unrealistic. Even if the mortgage is affordable, it is important to consider the costs of upkeep, taxes and insurance. People might also be tempted to make a poor exchange in order to keep the home. For example, trading a retirement account for the home might seem like a good idea at the time, but a home may not appreciate in value as a retirement account will, and it can also be costly. Divorce can affect a person's financial stability, and working with an attorney may help ensure that the right decisions are made for the long term.

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