My question involves a marriage in the state of: MA
My friends have been married 25 yrs., co-own their home (both are on title and mortgage, which is half paid) but are going to call it quits. He doesn’t want to remain living in their home, is ok with her continuing to live there if perhaps he can keep his financial interest in the house until such time as she’s ready to sell and downsize/move elsewhere. Their one child is 24 yrs. old and graduated/moved out a long time ago. At issue is her ability to afford to live there – she’s always had low income (income split through much of the marriage was 20/80 at best). It’s doubtful she’ll afford to continue living there given the monthly mortgage, high prop tax, sewer/gas, utilities, etc. She’s adamant on staying however.
Questions: Given her limited means, does a judge have a right to “investigate” the finances of each party to make sure they can continue to live in the house and make all needed payments, so as to avoid potential foreclosure ? My understanding is that in order for her to remain in the house and her ex-hubs to not be responsible for payments, she’d re-finance the mortgage in her name only, something I’m almost certain she would not qualify for without her husband’s income. What would happen if she applied for a re-finance and was declined? Is the court then required to force a sale, or is the ex-husband required to make payments even if he no longer lives there or wants to live there?
If she were to successfully re-finance, what happens to his financial stake in the home – would she simply “buy him out” and pay him his share of the home at the going market rate/value? Is this market rate/value determined by the re-fi or some other process?
Generally speaking, how much interest in the home might he be awarded - is it usually 50/50 or does a judge vary this split based on the incomes and assets of both marital parties?
If the home can’t be sold after sitting on market (they live in an area where sales have been way down, homes are listed for years) who is responsible for upkeep, making continued payments, etc.? Would a divorce order stipulate who’s responsible for what in this situation?
If she were to successfully re-finance and remain, would he be required to sign an immediate quit-claim deed to remove him from the title as well (after being paid his financial share) or is it acceptable that he continue to remain “silent co-owner” and continue to accrue gain in house as prices (hopefully) continue to go up in coming years, until she wants to downsize/sell? Not sure what is typical in these instances.