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To keep the home or not after a divorce in Massachusetts

Be it ever so humble there is no place like home, and for many married couples in Massachusetts this is true. There is so much sentimentality wrapped up in the family home even after a divorce that spouses may fight about who gets to keep it. In addition to the sentimental value, for many couples the family home is among the most valuable assets they own. Yet, there are important factors about keeping a home after a divorce that many couples may overlook.

First of all, after a marriage is dissolved the mortgage may need to be refinanced. The spouse who does not retain the home will likely want to remove his or her name from the mortgage to avoid the financial obligation. This means that the spouse who does keep the home will have his or her debt to income ratio examined, which could affect that spouse's ability to refinance.

Second, the spouse who keeps the home should keep in mind that they may want to sell it later in life. The value of the home is tightly wrapped up with current housing market conditions. This is important to keep in mind when it comes to valuing the asset.

Third, the spouse keeping the home needs to also consider the many expenses that come along with home ownership. There are the inevitable repairs that come with an aging home, along with the replacement of appliances, a new roof, new windows and other improvements that will most likely come up. Not only that, when one owns a home they must also pay for homeowner's insurance and property taxes, both of which could be expensive and will likely only grow over time.

Home sweet home is a proverbial axiom felt in the heart of many residents of Massachusetts. However, it is important to keep the practical side of home ownership in mind before deciding to retain this valuable asset when dividing property after a divorce.

Source: Forbes, "Four Questions To Consider Before Deciding To Keep Your Marital Home," Jeff Landers, Feb. 17, 2015

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