How Are Assets Split in a Massachusetts Divorce?

man separates wooden block. Property division. Divorce

When a couple decides to end their marriage, issues such as alimony and child custody often come to mind as contentious matters. However, the division of a couple’s property can also be a significant source of conflict, particularly when both parties feel entitled to certain assets, such as the marital home or even the family pet. It’s imperative for those undergoing a divorce to understand how Massachusetts’s divorce law addresses property division. Please continue reading to learn how assets are split and how a determined Bristol County Division of Assets and Debts Lawyer can help protect you during this complex legal process. 

How is Property Divided in a Massachusetts Divorce?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on property division, the court will need to intervene and issue a decision. It’s important to note that if the decision falls onto a judge’s lap, you will have less control over the outcome, putting your financial interests at risk. Therefore, you should determine how to divide your assets without court intervention. If this is not possible, it’s in your best interest to enlist the help of an experienced lawyer who can protect your rights during this process.

Firstly, for a court to divide property, it must establish the difference between a couple’s marital and separate property. Marital property includes any assets spouses acquired during the marriage. Separate property, however, is any assets spouses acquired before the marriage. Unlike marital property, separate property is not subject to property division during a divorce. This means that your separate property will remain yours unless these assets were co-mingled with joint assets during the marriage.

Are Assets Split Evenly?

Although many assume that assets are split evenly during a divorce, this is not the case in Massachusetts, as it’s not a community property state. Massachusetts is guided by the principle of equitable distribution. Under this doctrine, marital property will be split in a manner that the court deems fair and equitable, not necessarily equal. A judge will divide marital property and allocate their debts based on what’s fair given the case’s unique circumstances, which doesn’t necessarily mean a 50/50 split. The court will take into account each spouse’s contributions to the marriage. For instance, if a spouse sacrifices their career to be the homemaker, raising the children, those activities have value. The spouse will not be shortchanged on property division just because they are not the primary breadwinner in the family.

If you are having trouble agreeing with your spouse about how to divide your property, please don’t hesitate to contact a proficient and knowledgeable Bristol County Division of Assets and Debts lawyer from The Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley, P.C., who can help you fight for the best possible outcome.