The home you own with your spouse likely has immense emotional and financial value. In the event of a divorce, you may wonder if one spouse has the right to keep the home.
Previous posts dealt with splitting up home equity, but what if you or your spouse do not want to settle the dispute amicably? How do Massachusetts courts determine the rightful owner of a home? See below to learn about possible outcomes during your divorce.
Reasons a court awards sole ownership
Usually, the courts order the equal division of equity. However, in uncommon circumstances, Massachusetts courts do have the right to give a home to one party. If one spouse has enough separate assets that equal to or surpass the house’s value, the other spouse may receive permanent ownership. If you do not have equity in the home, a mediator will likely allow you to keep the house so long as the other spouse is not liable for it. Also, if someone in the marriage demonstrated financial irresponsibility, a court may consider awarding the home to the other spouse.
Further considerations and temporary residency
According to Chapter 208, mediators also consider the conduct of both parties, age, health, income opportunities, the needs of your children, contributions to the home and time spent in the home as a married couple. It is also possible that the courts impose a temporary order for one spouse to leave the house for up to 90 days.
Massachusetts rarely grants sole ownership of a home to one spouse. If you worry that you will lose your home in a divorce for one of the above reasons, consult with a lawyer about your options.