Who Gets the House in a Massachusetts Divorce?

Husband and wife fighting over the house in a Massachusetts divorce.

In a Massachusetts divorce, property division is based on equitable distribution, not necessarily equal. The outcome regarding the house may involve selling it, one spouse retaining ownership, or shared ownership, influenced by factors like marriage length, contributions, and custody arrangements.

Understanding Massachusetts Divorce Laws

In Massachusetts, divorce operates under the principle of “no-fault,” meaning you don’t need to prove wrongdoing by either spouse. The court aims for an equitable distribution of assets and debts. This means that the property acquired during your marriage will be divided fairly, though not necessarily equally.

Factors Considered in Property Division

To determine how property is divided, the court considers various factors. These include:

  • the length of your marriage,
  • the contributions each spouse made,
  • your economic circumstances, and
  • custody arrangements for any children.

Understanding how these factors can affect the outcome is crucial.

The Marital Home:
A Marital Asset

Your marital home is typically considered a marital asset, regardless of whose name is on the deed. It’s vital to understand how the court views your home in the context of property division. The home’s value will be assessed, and you’ll need to decide what to do with it.

Potential Outcomes for the Marital Home

There are several potential outcomes for the marital home. One option is to sell the home and split the proceeds. Alternatively, one spouse may choose to keep the home, while others opt for co-ownership with shared responsibilities. If both spouses want the home, the court will have to decide who to award it to. If you’re living in the home, especially with your children, that may play an important role. Creative solutions can also be explored, depending on your unique circumstances.

Navigating the legal process for property division in a Massachusetts divorce involves:

  • gathering documentation,
  • negotiating or mediating with your spouse, and
  • potentially court involvement if an agreement can’t be reached.

It’s essential to understand the steps and your rights throughout this process.

Strategies for Protecting
Your Interests

To ensure you receive a fair share of the marital home or its value, consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process. Consider property appraisals to determine the home’s worth accurately. Pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements can also play a role, and you should be aware of any tax implications tied to property division. Additionally, maintaining the home during divorce proceedings is vital to protect its value.

Affordable Massachusetts Divorce Attorneys

An affordable divorce is possible. At Afford Law, our fees are based on your income, so the less you earn, the less you pay. Our mission is to provide experienced legal help you can afford.

If you can’t afford our lower rates for a traditional attorney-client relationship, you have another option. Our legal coaching service can save you money and still give you access to a skilled attorney. In this arrangement, you represent yourself in court while we work with you behind the scenes to prepare you every step of the way. This service is available to you for one low monthly fee.


Divorce is undoubtedly a challenging time, and property division can be one of the most contentious aspects. Seeking affordable legal help and understanding your rights and options regarding the marital home are crucial steps. Remember, professional guidance is essential to protect your interests and ensure a fair outcome.

Legal Disclaimer

This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss your specific circumstances and receive tailored guidance.

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