In many Massachusetts divorces, issues involving child custody and child support take center stage. Another issue that sits at the top of most couples’ divorce proceedings involves property division. Massachusetts spouses should be aware that the time to handle all concerns that pertain to the division of property is before the divorce is final. Once the papers are signed, a spouse who is unhappy with one or more of the provisions within the agreement will have little recourse to make changes.
Among the challenges of property division, issues over real estate generally top the list. Once a decision has been made concerning which party will retain the home, the next step should be providing a clean break for the other party in regard to liability for that property. Although one spouse will end up on the title to the home, both may be listed on the mortgage.
This scenario leaves one person with full ownership rights to the home, and the other still on the hook for partial responsibility for paying the mortgage. In some cases, the spouse who keeps the house will stop making payments on the home for a variety of reasons, leaving the other party with badly damaged credit and no way to solve the issue other than covering the payment. The ex-spouse who signed off on the property would still not have any form of ownership in the property.
The best way to avoid this problem is to clearly outline within the divorce agreement that the spouse who keeps the house must also refinance that property in his or her own name. That solution will give the other party a clean break from the property, and eliminate the risk that their credit score will be harmed by the actions of another. This is just one of many property division details that should be handled during Massachusetts divorce negotiations, but it provides an excellent example of how important it is to cover all of the bases.
Source: Chicago Tribune, “In divorce proceedings, careful disposition of real estate is vital,” Ilyce Glink & Samuel Tamkin, Oct. 18, 2012