Who Gets the House in a Massachusetts Divorce?

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

In a Massachusetts divorce, the court will typically distribute the marital home equitably, considering various factors, including each spouse’s financial contributions, childcare responsibilities, and individual circumstances. It’s not an automatic 50/50 split; the outcome varies case by case.

The Marital Home

The family home, full of memories of holidays, birthdays and all those ordinary days that mean so much. Now that your marriage is ending, you have to decide what to do with it. Besides the emotional attachment to your home, it’s probably your largest asset.


There are many practical considerations, including your mortgage payments and the equity in the home. You have to take a close look at your bills and your income to see if the marital home can even be saved. You may have a fight on your hands with your spouse if they don’t think you’re making the right choice. Maybe you both want the house.


We can help you through this without costing you a fortune. We’ll work with you as you make a new life for yourself. We’ll protect your rights and help you decide the best option about the house. Together, we’ll get you through the divorce process and on to your new and better life.

Equitable Distribution State

Massachusetts is an equitable distribution state, as opposed to a community property state. Being an equitable division state means that your property is not necessarily divided evenly 50/50. Rather, a judge will divide it “fairly”.

Separate Property vs.
Marital Property

There are two types of property when it comes to divorce: separate property vs. marital property. Separate property are things that one person owns on their own, separate from their spouse. Marital property is property owned by the couple jointly.

Marital assets include:

  • retirement accounts,
  • bank accounts or
  • a pension plan.

Items purchased during the course of the marriage are considered marital property.

In Massachusetts, all property, both separate and marital, can be put into the marital estate and divided during a divorce. Even if you bought your house prior to the marriage, it can still be divided between you and your spouse.

Temporary Orders

While you’re going through your divorce, the court may impose temporary orders. Those are court orders put in place during the course of the divorce. Those orders spell out:

  • Who gets to live in the house;
  • Who has to make the mortgage payments;
  • Who has to pay the property taxes; and,
  • Who is responsible for home improvements.

Value of the Home

One of the first questions to ask is, what is the value of the house. That depends largely on the real estate market. You’ll have to have it appraised by a real estate professional. You’ll also need to know how much is still owed on the mortgage. The difference between the market value of the home and the outstanding mortgage is the equity. This is value of your home.

Affordable Divorce Attorneys
in Massachusetts

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.

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.

More To Explore