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What happens to your house in a Massachusetts divorce?

There are many issues that come up when you start considering divorce. Many parents find themselves worrying about the impact of the separation on their children. It's also common to worry about how the courts will divide your assets. Unless you have a prenuptial agreement or have agreed with your spouse on terms for dividing your property, chances are that the court will make those decisions on your behalf.

It can be nerve-wracking to have no way of predicting the exact outcome of the asset division process. After all, while you can familiarize yourself with the way the state handles divorce cases, each divorce has its own unique set of circumstances that will determine the outcome. When it comes to major assets, like your marital home, it's only natural to wonder how the courts will handle dividing such a critical asset.

Massachusetts family courts strive for equitable distribution

When the courts need to determine the best way to divide your assets, the primary guiding factor will be a fair and equitable result. It's important to realize that equitable does not always mean a 50/50 split of each asset.

Instead, the courts will look at many factors, from the income and economic situation of each spouse to child custody arrangements and the length of the marriage when deciding how to split up your possessions. In general, any assets you've acquired during marriage, regardless of who paid for what, are subject to division in a divorce.

The courts may order the sale of your family home

If both you and your spouse wish to retain the home or neither of you wish to, the courts will have to decide how to handle what is often the biggest asset from your marriage. They will look at accrued equity and the ability of each spouse to obtain and maintain a mortgage in the wake of your divorce.

In situations where there is very little equity in the home or where neither spouse has the income or credit to obtain a mortgage without a second borrower, the courts may order the sale of the home. When this happens, typically the proceeds of the sale end up split between spouses. This can help you each get established in your own living situation after divorce.

Sometimes, one spouse retains the marital home

In situations where the home is paid off or the divorcing couple has the ability to obtain a one-borrower mortgage, the courts may award the home to one spouse. They make look at custody of your children, as well as connection to the property when making a decision.

If one spouse receives the home, he or she will typically need to refinance the property to remove the other spouse from the mortgage note and the deed. The spouse not retaining the home will often receive a fair portion of equity or other valuable assets, such as a retirement account, to offset the value of the equity in the home.

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