Assets

Division of marital property in Massachusetts

During a divorce proceeding, distribution of marital property can be a complex process. Massachusetts has established statutes regarding property division of various types of assets. Fair distribution of assets, including alimony, health insurance and business values, is ultimately determined by the court. The division of marital property has tax consequences that must also be considered by both parties. In addition to one party paying alimony to the other, the commonwealth’s courts may also order that one spouse pay for vested and non-vested retirement accounts, investments made together and funds earned during the marriage. Other assets that the court may assign to be distributed include retirement accounts, military and veteran’s pay and pensions, private pensions, profit-sharing ventures, annuities, deferred compensation and insurance settlements. Determination of equitable distribution also includes physical property or the property’s value. When performing a complex property division, the court takes into consideration the needs of dependent children. Additionally, it factors the ability of each party to earn a living, the contribution that each spouse made to the household income and the contribution that each made in running the household. The values of shared assets must be verified when marital assets are distributed during a divorce. The values of personal property, any jointly held business, land, homes and other valuables may be a contentious issue between the two parties. An attorney can help with a thorough investigation and analysis to ensure that their client receives an equitable distribution of marital property at the moment of the divorce and

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Dividing property after a divorce

If a divorcing couple has not settled their division of assets through a signed Marital Settlement Agreement in Massachusetts, the issue is left to the courts. Massachusetts is an ‘equitable distribution” state, meaning that if the parties cannot agree on how to divide their assets and debt, the Family Court within the Judgment of Divorce will award property based on what is deemed to be fair. It is important to know that ‘equitable” and ‘fair” are not synonymous with a 50-50 split of marital debt and assets. When determining how much each party gets, a number of factors will be taken into consideration. These factors include the income of each party and their current occupations, vocational skills and potential to be hired. Each party’s health and age are also taken into consideration. The length of the marriage and the behavior of each spouse throughout are also used when determining property division. To determine the assets and debt that must be divided, the Family Court will first determine which assets and debt are actually marital and assign dollar amounts. Once the monetary value is determined, property and debt will be assigned equitably. A divorcing spouse who has not been able to reach a settlement on property division without the court can benefit from a divorce attorney who can be a strong advocate. It is important that the judge has a clear idea of the spouse’s situation and that the spouse receives a favorable ruling. Source: Divorce Support, “Massachusetts Property Division Factors“,

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Equitable distribution and property division in divorce

One of the hardest aspects of divorce is the division of property between two spouses and understanding equitable distribution. Finances are often one of the major points of contention in a marriage, and this can carry over into the divorce process. It is beneficial for Massachusetts couples to understand equitable distribution and how this will affect their divorce process. During a divorce, a couple has the option to work together on an agreement that will dictate the division of assets and other aspects of dividing finances. This can be achieved through mediation and the assistance of each spouse’s legal teams. However, this amicable process is not always possible with every couple, and it may be up to the discretion of the court how property and assets will be divided. Equitable distribution is the division of property according to what the court deems reasonable or fair. This is based on spouse earnings, marital property, length of the marriage and more. It is important to remember that equitable division in no way guarantees that this process will be completely equal or reflect the wishes of the couple. For this reason, many couples choose to work on an agreement to divide their property. Determining how property should be divided is not an easy task. Because of the potential complexity of this process, it is beneficial to understand all options and how to pursue the optimal outcome from the divorce. Equitable distribution is one aspect of a divorce that may be confusing for Massachusetts

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Social media use may lead to divorce and property division

People in Massachusetts get divorced for a plethora of reasons, including financial disagreements. When people are fighting over asset distribution and property division, they may quickly turn to social networking sites to publicly share their feelings and find emotional support. However, according to research, this same outlet that divorcing people sometimes use to vent may be the very thing that caused them to get a divorce in the first place. A new study showed that using Facebook and other similar social media sites is linked to having trouble in relationships and pondering divorce. This may be because these sites let users reconnect with people they dated or were married to in the past. In addition, they easily allow people to privately and continuously maintain romantic relationships with people other than their spouses. The chance of having a marriage that lasts long-term is only 50 percent, and social media has not helped these odds. This is why it’s beneficial to discuss the use of social media with one’s spouse. The two parties can then come to an agreement on ground rules related to how they use these sites, such as whether it’s okay to reconnect with past boyfriends or girlfriends. However, even when taking steps to control social media usage in a marriage, marital unions sometimes fail despite how hard people try to make it work. The best way to protect oneself from the financial perils of divorce is to develop a prenuptial agreement that addresses how assets and income will

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Beyond equitable distribution: the financial impact of divorce

When facing a divorce, a Massachusetts couple will likely consider equitable distribution of things, such as which spouse will keep the house, child custody and spousal support. However, there is much more to the divorce process than just equitable distribution of assets and property. There are long-term financial consequences that should be considered by both parties when working through a divorce. A divorce can have a major financial impact on an individual and family. Before or during the early stages of a divorce, it is beneficial for both parties to gather the financial information all assets. This includes retirement funds, long-term savings, vacation properties and more. Organizing tax records can also expedite the process of determining child and spousal support. Massachusetts couples may not ever consider which spouse will carry the debt burden leftover from the marriage. This is especially important for a couple who has a large amount of debt from credit cards, medical bills or a mortgage. This may make it difficult to establish separate finances, but it can be done with the correct preparation and legal guidance. It should be noted that couples should clearly designate in a divorce settlement how retirement funds and other long-term savings will be divided. Separating finances is one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce. Equitable distribution is a common goal for many individuals facing a divorce, but the long-term impact of financial distribution should be carefully considered. When an individual enters the divorce process with clearly established goals and

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Financial aspects of property division should be considered

The financial repercussions of divorce in Massachusetts can affect all parties going through the process. Fees and other expenses related to the proceedings can at times be burdening for some parties, but the monetary implications do not end there. Property division decisions can continue to affect individuals’ finances after the agreements have been made and the ownership of assets determined. Taxes are a big reason why division of the assets can have a considerable financial impact. If taxes are not considered when dividing property, an individual may find that they did not come out as well as they may have imagined. Therefore, it is important to examine assets from an after-tax point-of-view that will allow the true worth of certain property to be determined along with how that could affect the receiving party. Determining who will maintain ownership of the home can also play a significant role in the division process and affect the finances of the parties involved. If one party maintains ownership of the house and the other moves to a different location, looking into the tax implications of such a transfer could be prudent. There are also different aspects to consider if both parties maintain ownership of the home while only one of the individuals remains living in it. The property division process can be a complicated one in some situations. As a result, understanding how the proceedings are handled in Massachusetts and what regulations could come into play may lead to a less stressful procedure. Many

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Property division discussions could help Massachusetts couples

When Massachusetts couples are planning their weddings, the idea of also planning for their divorce may not be on their minds. However, taking some precautions before a marriage could ease the process if a divorce does take place in the future. Property division can be a difficult process to work through, but if couples consider signing a prenuptial agreement, issues concerning assets may be less likely. By discussing a prenuptial agreement before marriage, an open line of communication about serious issues can already be established. As a result, the couple may feel more comfortable discussing other issues in the future, which could allow them to potentially have a stronger marriage. This discussion can also help a couple learn more about the other’s financial state of affairs and if there are any serious issues that need to be addressed before their accounts are joined. Because individuals are often opting to settle into careers and homeownership before marriage, there may be some assets that the parties would like to protect. A prenuptial agreement could protect certain property that an individual acquired before marriage and hopes to retain in the event of separation. By coming to these terms before marriage, preparation can be had for a situation that may not arise but that they will nonetheless be able to navigate more smoothly on the chance that it does come about. As mentioned, discussing divorce while planning a marriage may be unseemly to some, but it could also help potentially strengthen a marriage. Discussing

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Court issues ruling for complex property division case

Fortunately, many Massachusetts couples are able to reach an agreement on their own as an alternative to prolonged litigation and court involvement. However, divorce can often produce such intense feelings of hurt and anger, which causes feuding during the litigation process. As one couple discovered, warring through litigation can be expensive, but it can also affect the amount awarded during property division. Reportedly, the petition for divorce followed a domestic dispute that became physical, ending a 19-year marriage in 2007. The parties share two children, and the divorce has lasted nearly seven years. The case began gathering public attention from the start, taking on increasing interest when the wife accused her estranged husband of squandering large amounts of money on his girlfriend while allegedly neglecting the financial needs of his hearing-impaired daughter. The negative exposure drastically affected the man’s ability to attract clients and reduced the value of his interest in the law firm in which he was a partner. Though the woman had a right to complain about her husband’s actions, the court ruled that, based on the level of negative attention surrounding the divorce — largely caused by the wife, his ability to earn money was adversely affected. As a result, she was only awarded 17 percent of his interest in the law firm. It is uncommon for courts to make such a seemingly inequitable award unless special circumstances are present. In this case, the wife’s actions negatively affected her husband’s livelihood; therefore, the court curtailed her right

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