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Family Law Attorney

I provide experienced legal guidance in family law, divorce and special education law. I represent parents and families throughout western Massachusetts.

Should you keep your house in a divorce?

Massachusetts residents who are getting divorced should be aware of some of the issues related to wanting to retain their family homes.

Getting a divorce is never easy. Massachusetts residents who have experienced divorce firsthand can attest to this. Among the many emotional challenges associated with the end of a marriage is the potential to have to sell or leave a family home. The memories and security often associated with a house can make the thought of this almost unbearable. Parents with young children are especially known to work hard to stay in their homes for the purpose of maintaining stability for their children. However, is this really the best choice?

Houses cost money-a lot of money

The monthly mortgage payment is far from the only cost associated with home ownership. If it were that simple, a lot more people would be able to afford to buy homes than current can do so. Spouses who want to stay in their marital homes should thoroughly evaluate how much it really costs them to own and maintain those homes.

The Huffington Post explains this analysis should include items such as homeowner's insurance, property taxes, maintenance and repairs. In addition, the natural fluctuation that can occur in the housing market makes property a highly volatile asset. People cannot assume that if they eventually want to sell a home, they will earn a profit on the sale.

Other assets may be a better bet

Forbes indicates that retirement funds, for example, may be more valuable assets to retain after a divorce than homes. Selling a house and splitting whatever profit may result is often a recommended path for divorcing spouses. In addition to tallying up the cost of keeping a home, it should be remembered that a post-divorce income is rarely ever as generous as the pre-divorce family income.

A buyout is not always an out

Simply letting the other spouse have the house does not always prevent financial problems down the road. Bankrate recommends that if one spouse does push to retain the home, the other spouse should push to require a refinance of the mortgage. The new mortgage should be in the name of the person who will keep the house only, not in both peoples' names.

Allowing the existing mortgage to remain in place puts the non-residential spouse at great risk if the owning spouse ever fails to make a payment or even if a payment is late. Late or missed payments show up on the credit report of anyone named on the mortgage, even if that person is not living in the home.

Professional advice is recommended

The complexities surrounding how to address a marital home during a divorce are many. This makes it highly important for Massachusetts spouses to get legal advice when getting divorced to make sure they make informed decisions.

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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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Springfield, MA 01103
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Claudette-Jean Girard, Attorney at Law
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