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Who receives your family home in a Massachusetts divorce?

Perhaps you and your spouse choose to separate and divorce. Along with other property you have acquired during your marriage, you wonder who will keep the home that you and your spouse (and perhaps children) live in.

Massachusetts courts consider 17 different factors in determining how to divide property. The Judge will divide property equitably, versus equally.  The Court will consider the length of your marriage, your ages, employability of each of you and conduct, among other factors to be considered.  Sometimes the Court will consider what year your children are in school in deciding when the home will be divided, sold or perhaps one spouse will buy-out the other's interest.  

Massachusetts divorce: Who takes the blame?

Massachusetts proves to be a fault and a no-fault divorce state. In a traditional no-fault divorce state, blaming a former spouse for decisions made causing the break-up of a marriage is both unacceptable in court and not allowed. No-fault divorce states look past decisions made.

States like Massachusetts that allow fault to be named lean on the side of distribution to the spouse that did not necessarily commit acts that led to the separation. In claiming fault in divorce, you may explain that your marriage ends due to:

  1. Adultery
  2. Desertion
  3. Gross and confirmed habits of intoxication
  4. Cruel and abusive treatment
  5. Non-support
  6. A prison sentence of 5 or more years

Those that file fault divorces should understand that the process proves lengthy and emotional. Investigations may ensue to confirm the claim against your spouse, but obtaining your home and a larger share of assets may prove worth the wait in your situation.

Fair versus equal distribution

Massachusetts operates under equitable distribution. Though the name implies equality, the court determines various factors before deciding the exact distribution of assets. The court will look at elements such as:

  • The length of your marriage
  • The health and age of you and your spouse
  • You and your spouse's income, education and employment
  • Your conduct during the marriage
  • Your finances and property interests

So, who receives the home?

In a no-fault divorce, a court looks at equitable distribution factors. Should your marriage have ended with generally equal conduct and interests, a court may order your home to be sold and money be split 50/50. If you committed a fault-based act, a court may determine you to be entitled to less assets.

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