What is equitable distribution used for?

When couples consider a divorce, there can be issues that arise. By breaking up the marriage, they will also have to consider how this can affect them and their ownership. They may lose the rights to some of their assets or property. Divorce proceedings include the division of marital assets. Assets are categorized as marital property or separate property. This means that it was either acquired in marriage or was owned previously by one individual spouse. Equitable distribution is the method that Massachusetts judges use to divide marital assets in divorce.

Through equitable distribution, assets will be divided fairly and justly by a court. It does not mean that the assets will be divided equally though. Judges will take many factors into consideration to make their decision. This means that the assets of a divorced couple should be split in a fair and just manner under the court’s discretion. The court will decide what they believe to be the best outcome.

What factors are considered?

When deciding how to split assets, the court will consider many factors of the marriage. These factors can include the duration of the marriage, the standard of living, the value of the marital assets, the health and age of both parties and the earning capacity and income of the couple. The allocation of assets can be impacted by the contribution of each party, tax consequences and an individual’s financial situation.

How can a prenuptial agreement help in this situation?

If a prenuptial agreement was signed by the spouses previously, then some of the assets may not be involved in the distribution process. In a prenuptial agreement, spouses have laid out assets and properties that are owned by each individual. This is a legally binding document that may prevent these assets from being considered during equitable distribution. A postnuptial agreement can have the same effect. It may be able to protect certain assets from being distributed. This can help spouses retain control of assets that they wished to keep in the family. It can also prevent a business from being involved in divorce proceedings if it was claimed by a spouse in the written document.

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.