People say that home is where the heart is, but for many married couples in Massachusetts, it is also where most of the marital wealth resides. You and your spouse have probably made mortgage payments for years, if not decades, during your marriage.
The more you have spent on the purchase and maintenance of your home, the more important it is to protect your interest in the property when you start thinking about a divorce. Unlike a bank account, which you can divide, a home may seem like a winner-take-all asset in the event of a divorce.
Do you have to worry about losing years of property investments because you want to end your marriage?
You can divide the value of the home
Some couples do actually manage to negotiate shared homeownership following a divorce. They may agree to a birdnesting custody arrangement for their children or to rent the property out as an investment home until it is in a certain condition or can obtain a certain price on the real estate market.
For most other couples, dividing the home or at least its value will be a crucial part of the property division process in their divorce. Massachusetts state law requires an equitable or fair division of your property. It is rarely fair for one spouse to keep the home right without compensating the other.
You may be able to keep the house if you can refinance it and repay your spouse some of the equity, or you can ask for your share of the equity if they keep the home. Other times, you could ask for concessions and other aspects of property division, like permission to keep the family business or a vacation home, in exchange for not seeking your marital home in the divorce.
You need to be realistic about your biggest assets
People sometimes become so emotional about major assets like their homes that they fail to consider what would actually be in their best interest. If you aren’t in a position to manage a mortgage payment or maintain a house without support, and asking for equity could be a better solution than trying to keep the house for yourself.
Learning more about the property division rules for Massachusetts divorces can help you set realistic goals as you plan for your life after marriage.