Legal Question in Family Law in Massachusetts

Being on the deed verses the mortgage

What are the advantages/disadvantages of being listed on the deed and not the mortgage? My spouse and I are considering buying a home. I will contribute to half the downpayment. We plan on having a baby so I will not be contributing to the mortgage payment,but will be contributing to raising the child. He makes 4 times my salary now. Before agreeing to being listed on a deed and not the mortgage, I'd like to know any answers to the above question. I want to protect myself in the age of divorce. This is our first home; married 2 years.

Asked on 3/17/01, 1:22 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Thomas Workman Law Offices of Thomas Workman

Re: Being on the deed verses the mortgage

You need not be concerned about how the house would be viewed in a divorce, it is marital property, subject to division in a divorce. Whether you make half the downpayment, all of it, or none of the downpayment -- it is property bought while you were married, and thus marital property, unless you have a prenuptial agreement that speaks directly to this subject. It does not matter whose name(s) are on the deed.

If you are buying a house, you should spend a few hundred dollars and have an attorney represent YOU (and your husband) at the closing. The attorney who will conduct the closing works for the bank, and is only concerned with protecting the bank's interests. Talk to your attorney about the options available to you on the deed, and in particular about the deed being in both names, as "tenants by the entirety". Your local bar association can refer you to an attorney. Buying a home is a big event, and the cost of getting this "right" is worth the peace of mind you will get from having an attorney there to represent YOU at the closing.

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Answered on 5/25/01, 5:09 pm

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