Dividing Assets at the Termination of a Marriage

When couples begin the divorce process in Massachusetts, one of the first question that often comes up is “Who gets the house in the divorce?” The answer to that question lies in the way that the court system handles asset division as whole. You see, the court won’t generally just look at the house and hand it to one party or the other. Asset division is a more holistic review process in which the courts consider various ways to reach an equitable way to decide who gets what. Let’s break down some of these terms and talk about how your assets could be divided in the Massachusetts divorce process.

Introduction to Asset Division in Massachusetts Divorces

Divorce is a difficult and emotional process, and one of the most challenging aspects for many couples is dividing their assets. In Massachusetts, assets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and are subject to division in a divorce. This can include everything from real estate, retirement accounts, investments, businesses, and even personal belongings.

The goal of asset division in a Massachusetts divorce is to divide property fairly between both parties. However, this does not always mean a 50/50 split. The court takes into consideration various factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contributions to the marriage (financially or otherwise), each spouse’s future earning potential, and other relevant factors.

Identifying Marital Property

Before beginning the asset division process, it is important to understand what constitutes marital property in Massachusetts. Any assets acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage are generally considered marital property unless they are exceptions such as certain inheritances or property that was acquired before the marriage (although many factors can affect a judge’s determination on the divisibility of these assets). As a general rule of thumb, anything acquired during the marriage- that’s debts, dollars, and properties- can be considered marital property.

It is crucial to have a thorough understanding of all assets that fall under marital property before initiating divorce proceedings. This includes gathering documents such as bank statements, tax returns, deeds for real estate properties, retirement account statements, investment portfolios, and any other relevant financial records. An experienced divorce attorney at O’Connor Family Law can help you determine what financial records you should collect and how to prepare for this process.

Equitable Distribution vs Community Property

Massachusetts follows equitable distribution principles when it comes to dividing assets in a divorce. This means that rather than splitting all assets equally between spouses like community property states do; the court will divide them fairly based on individual circumstances.

This approach allows for more flexibility in considering factors unique to each case and ensuring that both parties receive a fair share of marital assets based on their contributions during the marriage.

For more information on the state’s consideration of community property, take a look at this page.

Asset Valuation

Another critical aspect of asset division in Massachusetts divorces is determining how much each asset is worth. Some assets may be straightforward to value while others may require expert opinions or appraisals. For example, real estate properties may require a professional appraisal to determine their current market value, while businesses may need the expertise of a financial analyst to assess their worth.

It is essential to ensure that all assets are accurately valued to avoid any disputes or discrepancies during the division process.

Asset division in Massachusetts divorces can be a complex and challenging process. It’s important to know what you’re walking into when it comes to marital property, equitable distribution principles, and accurate asset valuation before getting deep into the divorce process. Seeking legal guidance from an experienced attorney can also help protect your interests and ensure a fair outcome in the asset division process.

Whether you’re thinking about divorce or have already started, our experienced team of high asset divorce attorneys is here to guide you through every aspect of separation. Our trusted legal team and on-staff client support coach are ready to work with you to start writing your next chapter in life. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you through this process.

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