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Complex property division

The role of artwork in a divorce property division

Massachusetts residents who are seeking a divorce may be interested in some information on how artwork is treated at the end of a marriage. Depending on when it was created, the pieces may be up for grabs when marital property is divided. When a couple makes the decision to divorce, they need to go through the property division process and divide their existing marital assets. When one of the spouses is an artist, they may be unclear about what to do with their artwork. An artist often believes that their works belong to them, because they created the pieces. In the eyes of the law, however, the artwork itself is simply another piece of property owned by the couple. Because of this, the artwork is subject to the same equitable division principles as the rest of the former couple’s assets. Artwork presents complex property division issues due to its often-subjective nature. A monetary value needs to be assigned to each piece by an appraiser or gallery owner. In addition, any licensing agreements for the artwork created by one of the parties needs to be included as property and revenue that belongs to the marriage. If artwork was created prior to the marriage, though, it will most likely not be part of this marital property division. Failure to properly account for the value of this artwork could open the creator up to allegations of fraud and could end up losing them all of that property. To avoid this, legal counsel may

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Impact of property and debt division on credit

As a part of the property settlement in a Massachusetts divorce, the debts the couple have will also be divided in the divorce decree. When a debt is allocated to a spouse who fails to pay or pays late, the credit of the other spouse, if the debt was one that was held jointly, may be negatively impacted despite the order. Creditors are not parties to divorce actions, and as such, they can still hold anyone listed on an account liable for its balance. This can cause a problem in the event the spouse that is supposed to repay the debt according to the property settlement fails to do so. His or her late payments or non-payment can be reported on the other spouse’s credit report, and the company may initiate collection actions against either or both spouses. One option a spouse has in the event his or her ex fails to pay a debt that was required to be paid under the property division order is to file a motion for contempt with the family law court having jurisdiction over the divorce action. The court may then take steps to enforce its orders. When people are getting divorced, it may be a good idea to try to get their names off of any jointly held accounts, including debts for which they will not be responsible under the property settlement order. The marital property will include the debts incurred during the marriage, and those debts should be expected to be

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The issues that stock options present in a divorce

Massachusetts residents who are contemplating a divorce may be interested in one issue that often accompanies the process. When a couple spits up, certain types of stock owned by one of the parties may present problems that others do not. Restricted stock is a type of stock that is usually given to an employee for no cost, but only becomes transferable after certain conditions are met. This could include working at the company for a certain amount of time, among other possible terms. On the other hand, stock options are a type of compensation that allows the holder to purchase a certain amount of stock at a set price, but at a later date. This often results in acquiring the stock at a lower price. When one spouse owns, or claims to own, one of these types of compensation, these can present complex property division issues. The first step to take when dealing with these assets is to make sure that they actually exist. This may require an attorney inquiring about options and restricted stock with the company’s human resources department. The worth of the stock should then be determined, which may be difficult if the shares are not publicly traded. After the value is determined, the non-owning spouse should be sure to get an equitable distribution of the shares. If the shares are not given as part of the divorce, assets equivalent to the value of the stock should be their replacement. A contentious high net-worth divorce often brings

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Addressing complex property concerns during a divorce

While many Massachusetts divorces can be contentious as property division is discussed, some situations are more challenging because of the complex nature of marital and other assets. Business interests, stocks, real estate, and other issues may require particularly careful analysis to determine value and status as marital or separate assets. Those of you who hold executive positions, own your own companies or have a high net worth may find these issues to be particularly significant during divorce proceedings. An effective approach to property division begins with accurately valuing assets. Tax consequences should also be considered as certain funds are evaluated. In addition to determining the value of retirement resources, professional bonuses, stock options, and bank accounts, it is important to evaluate collectible items, antiques, and other physical belongings of value. Real estate and closely held businesses should also be evaluated. With an accurate value of the marital estate, it is possible to work toward setting attainable goals related to the property division phase of the divorce. The principle of equitable distribution is a guiding factor through this process. A fair division of assets is often determined by a judge, meaning that it is important to present a convincing argument for your wishes with regard to complex assets. It may be a priority to define certain properties as separate during this phase. A prenuptial agreement may also play a significant role in determining how marital assets are to be divided. If you are facing challenges related to high-value or complex assets

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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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Murdoch split highlights difficulties in high net-worth divorces

Most Massachusetts couples involved in the dissolution of their marriage do not have to deal with complex property division. Most divorcing couples do not have millions in assets to consider. For those couples such as Rupert and Wendi Murdoch who are currently involved in a high net-worth divorce, the issues can become more complex and may require greater amounts of time and negotiation to resolve. Rupert Murdoch, the media mogul is ending his 14 year marriage to his wife. In spite of legal contracts drawn up prior to the marriage (pre-nuptial) and during the marriage (post-nuptial) there are still many issues that will need to be resolved. The couple had two children during the course of the marriage. Accordingly, custody and visitation will have to be determined. Family trusts that have been created may need to have new administrators selected, and marital assets outside the scope of post-nuptial agreements will need to be divided fairly. Although discussions regarding the division of property and schedules of assets are all very impersonal and business-oriented, it should be remembered that a divorce is not often just the dissolution of an economic relationship. Frequently, strong emotions play a part in the success or failure of negotiations and proposed divorce settlements. Money issues aside, it is still the deconstruction of a family and therefore should be handled with care and respect for the feelings of all those involved. Those in Massachusetts who, like the Wendy and Rupert Murdoch, are dealing with a high net-worth divorce

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