Divorce requires some financial strategy, especially during asset division. But splitting a home can come with extra challenges. As couples can’t usually own a home separately, typically, only one spouse gets to keep it.
Judges consider many factors
As Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, judges tend to make their decisions not on what’s equal, but what’s fair. These rules can play a huge role in determining who keeps the home, especially if it was a joint purchase. Depending on the circumstances, custodial parents usually have a better chance of maintaining the house. As courts try to hold the child’s best interests in mind, many judges attempt to prevent disruption in a child’s life to a minimum.
However, not every couple has kids. If that’s the case, determining who gets the home can be difficult. Here’s what childless spouses can do if they wish to own the home:
- Find out how much it’s worth: Spouses should figure out if they can afford to make the mortgage payments on it first. If they can prove they have the financial means to maintain the home independently, they should pursue it. If not, it could put them and the non-homeowning spouse in financial trouble.
- Prove that they have the money: High-income earners have several ways they can do this. Depending on their circumstances, if they wish to maintain homeownership, they could offer their spouse other assets that hold similar value. Those things could include money from an investment account or interest payments from rental properties. They could also negotiate a buyout where one spouse pays the other for their portion of the mortgage.
Negotiations aren’t always easy
Regardless if it’s contentious or not, divorce comes with many ups and downs. And just because one person has what they need to claim the home, that doesn’t mean the other spouse will be content with negotiations. If that’s the case, there is assistance available to help couples make these tough decisions.