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Property division in divorce: It’s not all about the house

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2020 | Property Division

A hobby you and your spouse used to enjoy together was playing chess. Even though you usually lost, you enjoyed the mental challenge as you both plotted your moves against one another.

Now that your marriage is ending, you might be worried that your spouse will outsmart and outmaneuver you when negotiating the division of your shared property. In Massachusetts, the rule is that marital property gets divided equitably during divorce. However, your spouse’s idea of equitable division of the family home may not be the same as yours.

Is selling the house our only option?

For most couples in Peabody, the family home is the biggest asset they need to divide in a divorce. Here are a few ways you and your spouse can work together during the process:

  • Sell the house: Selling is perhaps the simplest option. You and your spouse can list the property for sale and split the profits evenly, giving you both a fresh start in new, separate homes while receiving an equal payout.
  • One spouse buys the other out: If only one of you wishes to keep the property, you can create an arrangement where one spouse is compensated by the other spouse for their share. If going this route, be sure to update the names on the mortgage to match the new agreement.
  • Continue to share ownership: While uncommon, keeping the house could be a viable option if the housing market isn’t ideal or if you both have the financial means to allow it to sit and grow as an investment. You could even consider renting the house out to cover the mortgage fees while you both wait to sell it when the time is right.

Make the smart play

As in chess, focusing too much attention on one piece—your house—could cause you to forget about the other pieces in play. When approaching property division, you need to accurately assess the value of all your assets. It may pay to let your spouse keep the house if, in exchange, you get to keep other valuable assets which together add up to the total value of the home.

If you need help during your divorce, contact an experienced family law attorney for professional legal guidance.