Burke Levy, P.C.

Marital assets subject to equitable distribution in Massachusetts

Couples may not realize just how many assets they have accumulated over the years until they are faced with dividing up property during a divorce. This includes everything from furniture and the family home to investments and retirement accounts. However, asset division is different than simply cleaving marital property in two and walking away with an equal share. Instead, people can expect to receive their share of an equitable distribution of their marital assets.

Massachusetts is an equitable division state. Unlike community property states that require asset division to produce approximately equal shares for both parties, equitable division requires that the portion of assets each person receives must be fair. In both community property and equitable division states, separate property is not included in asset division, and this typically includes assets owned before marriage or received as inheritances or gifts during the union.

Although some people reach an agreeable division on their own, others are unable to do so. In such instances, the matter will proceed to court, where a family law judge will provide a decision. Courts must take a variety of factors into account when ruling on an equitable division of assets, and they may look at each spouse's age, health, job, employability, income and how long the marriage lasted.

An equitable distribution of marital assets will usually not resemble a clean 50/50 split, although this division might indeed be the fairest approach for some couples. However, since no two divorces are alike, it is important for both parties to understand how Massachusetts family law will affect the process. For many, the careful guidance of an experienced attorney can demystify the process, leading to the best possible resolution of their divorce.

Source: FindLaw, "Massachusetts Marital Property Laws", Accessed on Jan. 15, 2018

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