When a couple chooses to get a divorce, they must figure out how to untangle a life together. This usually means figuring out matters of alimony, child custody, child support, and so on. One of the biggest things a couple will have to decide upon is what will happen to their home. Couples have different options when it comes to who keeps the home, and what to do with it. Every couple is different, so there is no universal solution. Instead, you will need to work with your divorce attorney, and potentially your spouse, to determine what the best course of action will be. Read on to learn more about the different options you will have when it comes to a Massachusetts divorce.
Marital vs. Separate Property
The first thing to consider when making decisions about your home is whether it is considered marital or separate property. If your home is separate property, the decisions will be much easier. If it is separate, whichever spouse solely owns the house will get to keep it. Separate property is property that was bought before the marriage, gifted, or inherited. It is important to note that separate property can become marital property.
Marital property is property that has been purchased during the course of the marriage. Most homes are considered marital property.
If your home is considered to be marital property, it will be subject to equitable division. This means the house will be divided between both parties in a way that is equitable in terms of each party’s contribution. Some of the ways to equitably distribute a home include:
- Selling it: many couples sell their house and then split the profits, equally or unequally depending upon the situation.
- Arranging a buyout: in some cases, one spouse will buy the assets of the other spouse, becoming the sole owner of the home.
- Continue to co-own the house: this is a popular option amongst couples with young children. Many parents do not want to move their children out of their homes. Instead, one spouse will reside in the home, the other spouse will move out, and the divorced couple may sell the house later down the line.
When it comes to deciding upon which of these options is best, many couples turn to mediation. Mediation involves bringing a neutral third party into the mix to help the couple work through the matters of their divorce in a collaborative way. But, because the house is often such a large and sentimental asset, it can be difficult for couples to agree. In this case, they may have the matter decided by the court.
Factors Considered by the Court
If a court is determining what will happen to a home in the event of a divorce, they will consider the following factors:
- The duration of the marriage
- Health and age of the parties
- The standard of living
- The earning capacity and income of the couple
- The value of marital assets
If you have any questions or concerns about the process of equitable division in Massachusetts, contact our firm today.
Contact our Firm
For over 30 years, The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. has provided quality legal support and representation for clients in Bristol County and all of Massachusetts. Our firm’s experience eases the stress of clients while providing the legal services they deserve. If you need help through a contested divorce, contact The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C. for a consultation today.