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How to divide the family home in a divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 3, 2019 | Property Division

When you and your spouse purchased your Massachusetts home, buying real estate together was a high point in your marriage. Now that you are divorcing and that real estate is one of your most significant assets, you may both be wondering how best to divide the value.

At Reade Law Firm, PC, we often provide advice to couples regarding their options for dividing the family home.

  1. One spouse keeps the house

Perhaps one of you wants to keep the house, or maybe you both want your children to continue to live there so their lives will not be disrupted further by a move. NerdWallet notes that the spouse who remains in the home should refinance it in his or her own name and remove the other spouse from both the title and the mortgage. The spouse who stays would need to pay the other spouse half of the equity in the house (unless the judge decides an uneven split in the equity is fairer given other circumstances).

  1. Both spouses keep the house

Although it is rare, some divorced parents are successful at “bird’s nest” co-parenting agreements where they take turns living in the house with the children. If this is not an option, there may still be other situations where it is better for spouses to keep the home in both their names. For example, you may owe more than the house is worth, neither of you may have the resources to refinance at the moment, or the housing market may be especially low and you want to wait to sell until you are more likely to get a good price.

  1. Both spouses sell the house

It is probably easiest to sell the house and equitably divide the proceeds. As noted before, the judge may not determine that an even division is fair, so the percentage each receives will depend on the divorce decree.

More information about dividing real property in divorce is available on our webpage.