Barbara J. Katzenberg, Attorney at Law
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Divorce mediation: Should the family home be sold or not?

Regardless of how amicable a divorce is, it is never easy. There are many important decisions to make at a time when emotions are likely in turmoil, some of them detrimental to post-divorce financial stability. Along with child custody issues, deciding what to do about the family home may be one of the more complex issues to resolve. Many Massachusetts couples opt to reach resolution through divorce mediation.

If both parties agree to sell the family home and use the proceeds to fund separate living arrangements, the process is quite simple. However, it is not uncommon for one spouse to want to retain the house to limit the impact of the divorce on the children. Relocation may mean new schools, and removing children from their circles of friends at this time may be traumatic.

While it may make sense not to unsettle the children, the parent wanting to retain the home may struggle to obtain a new mortgage on a single income. Even if the other party signs the deed over to this parent, the bank or mortgage holder has no interest in the debtor's marital status, and it will hold responsible those whose names appear on the original documents. While in divorce mediation, it may be wise to discuss this issue extensively and first determine viability before heading into an unaffordable situation.

When Massachusetts couples choose divorce mediation, both parties may be supported by their respective attorneys. A divorce attorney can provide valuable input during mediation while also ensuring that his or her client's interests and rights are protected. A divorce mediator may only facilitate negotiation and may not give legal advice. For this reason, the support and guidance of an experienced family law attorney may be invaluable.

Source:, "Consider how divorce can affect home situation", Steven Hyman, Accessed on June 3, 2016

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