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Divorcing couples' options for Massachusetts property division

Once a Massachusetts couple begins to work through the emotional aspects of divorce, the major remaining issues are typically financial in nature. While it is sometimes difficult to calmly make logical decisions regarding things like asset and property division during such a stressful time, failure to do so can prove costly to all parties involved. Usually, one of the most difficult but most important and valuable assets to divide is the family home.

When deciding how to determine future home ownership, there are several approaches from which divorcing individuals may choose. The first is, of course, to do nothing; sometimes, divorced parents maintain joint ownership of the property and eventually leave it to their children. This, however, is often not feasible for many divorcing spouses, for a variety of financial and inter-personal reasons.

For families with young children, an inter-spousal deed transfer may be a better option, allowing one ex-spouse to transfer the deed title to the other parent, who takes over mortgage payments. This does allow divorcing couples to avoid a reassessment of property taxes, but the spouse who relinquishes ownership remains listed on loan documents. This, in turn, can potentially lead to disagreements or legal issues down the line if the spouse who originally agreed to take over mortgage payments defaults.

Other options include selling the house and splitting the proceeds, but a quick, forced sale in a buyers' market may lead to financial losses. Of course, there are a variety of other options divorcing spouses can consider as well, depending on their circumstances and other assets, such as selling an investment property and one ex-spouse cashing out the other, or trading other assets for equity. Regardless, with so many legal and financial issues to deliberate when it comes to Massachusetts property division in divorce, advisors strongly recommend seeking the counsel of an experienced divorce attorney for advice and guidance.

Source:, "How's the Market? Divorce and real estate", Richard Selzer, Nov. 17, 2017

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