marital property

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

Read More »

Proposed bill prohibits dating while residing in marital property

When married couples decide to terminate their marriage, there is always a lot to consider, such as who will be the one to move out of the current residence. In many cases, one of the spouses will remain in the home during the divorce process, until the division of all marital property has been decided. It is not uncommon for individuals entering a new relationship before the divorce is finalized, unfortunately a recent bill that has been proposed in Massachusetts, may prohibit the couple from conducting their relationship while the marital home. The proposed bill will affect proceedings in which a shared residence and/or children are involved. If passed, the bill would prevent the spouse living in the marital home from dating or engaging in a sexual relationship within the house until the divorce is finalized. All aspects of the divorce must be resolved — including property division, custody arrangements and alimony agreements. The new bill was first presented last year, but has not been reviewed. An extension was granted for consideration in the state legislature until the end of June. If the bill passes and is signed into law, divorcing spouses would no longer be able to bring partners from a new relationship into the marital home until the divorce is finalized, including the determination of any issues regarding child custody or the finances between the parties. A divorce in Massachusetts is not deemed final until a minimum of 120 days from when it is granted. However, the bill

Read More »

Determining property division in Massachusetts divorces

No matter how you slice it, divorce is typically abounding with emotion. Dividing one life back into two can simply be a mentally draining process. Massachusetts couples, like couples all across the country, just want to make sure they will be financially prepared for their new separate lives. For many, this requires careful negotiation and knowledge of applicable laws during the property division phase of a divorce. Protecting personal assets is one of the biggest concerns in a divorce. There is a big difference between community or marital property versus separate or personal property. However, rules regarding each individual asset can be somewhat tricky. One type of asset that is considered personal or separate property would be an inheritance or gift that was given to one spouse before the marriage and would not be subject to division. Other assets like the marital home, retirement accounts and formed businesses could be considered both separate property and marital property, depending on what paperwork the couple has to show for each item. Assets that are considered marital property are typically subject to an even distribution between each spouse, including the home and any debts shared between the couple; however, if either spouse has sufficient documentation that the asset belongs to them, it may be considered personal property and not subject to division. Things in this category include funds in retirement accounts before marriage or any residence paid for specifically by one spouse — just to name a few. While proving these items are

Read More »

A prenup can help in the division of marital property

For Massachusetts couples who are preparing to wed, the timeframe leading up to the wedding can be filled with seemingly endless tasks. Financially savvy couples will include the preparation of a prenuptial agreement within those to-do lists. While virtually every couple is aware of the benefits offered by a prenup, few realize how important it is to ensure that the contract outlining the division of marital property is written properly. In the best case scenario, a prenuptial agreement will never be called into service, and will be just one of many protective financial measures taken by a family. However, if the need should arise to make use of the document, it will be vitally important that the prenup was properly drafted. Asking a court to uphold these contracts requires that they meet certain legal expectations. One example involves the circumstances under which the prenup was written and signed. If a spouse can prove that they were forced to sign the document under duress, the entire prenup can be thrown out of court. Interestingly, it does not take a major act of coercion to prove duress; simply signing the contract in the days or weeks leading up to a wedding can be spun as signing under threat that the wedding may not take place otherwise. One way to protect against a challenge to a prenuptial agreement is to ask the Massachusetts attorney drafting the document to maintain a record of all correspondence and communication between parties or within the presence of

Read More »

Bad advice can affect marital property and divorce in general

The list of bad advice and common misconceptions that is believed when it comes to divorce is endless. The problem is that many Massachusetts residents are believing this misconceptions, and those believes can cause problems while undergoing the complexity of dividing marital property and other aspects of divorce. A quick inventory of the most popular untruths can help anyone going through divorce avoid them and thereby make their divorce go easier and smoother. For example, many people improperly believe that all divorces are the same. This idea is simply impossible when you consider that some families must make decisions on child custody, while others do not have any children at all. Another one that has been floating around is that it takes a year for each four years of marriage to emotionally heal following a split-up. Well-meaning family and friends might tell you that you should be extremely angry at your ex-spouse. They might tell you that taking anti-depressants following a divorce is something everyone does. Lastly, you might tell yourself that your split-up is a sign that you are a failure in life. None of these are true and believing these kinds of lies can actually make your divorce process more difficult. When it comes to the complicated process of dividing marital property, making decisions on child custody, and dealing with the wild mix of emotions that crop up during divorce, no Massachusetts resident can afford to entertain untruths. People who are going through a divorce and get professional

Read More »

Pets more than just marital property in a divorce

Most Massachusetts pet owners would be horrified if their precious furry friends were referred to as property, akin to a chair or table. Many couples see their dogs, cats and other pets as true family members; however, in a court of law, pets are seen as marital property during a divorce. This is a difficult realization for many couples attempting to decide what happens to their pets when their relationship ends. It’s the incredible attachment people have to their animals that is making more people fight over them once they decide to end their relationship in divorce. Those watching current trends in divorce have seen an increase in couples attempting to receive joint custody of their pets. Many couples care for their pets as if they were children and when their relationship ends decisions must be made as to the continued care of their pets. Regardless of whether the discussion is related to pets, children, monetary assets or property, the end of a relationship can bring on heated battles in how these are divided and shared. Many couples attempt to deal with this alone, which can lead to negative feelings and make the aftermath of a divorce bitter. Some couples decide on alternative dispute resolution techniques in order to address property division. Massachusetts couples considering divorce or currently going through the dissolution of a marriage may have difficult decisions to make in regards to the distribution of marital property, including pets, as they go through the process of ending their

Read More »

Vanessa Bryant scores big in her divorce from Kobe Bryant

A recent article discusses the high-asset divorce of Kobe Bryant from his soon-to-be ex-wife. As Massachusetts residents know, divorce settlements can be tricky. Even so, the process has been a financial success for the basketball player’s former partner. According to reports, Vanessa Bryant will come away with three Newport Beach mansions. However, the homes are just a portion of it. A source says that she will receive around $75 million in the divorce settlement. This is half of the couple’s high net-worth. The celebrity couple did not have a prenuptial agreement. Because California is a community property state, Vanessa may have a right to half of Kobe’s earnings during their decade-long marriage. The NBA player is reported to make around $25 million this year. In addition to financial matters, the separation contemplated the fate of the couple’s children. Child visitation and custody issues are a recurrent theme in many divorces. The result of arrangements can impact a child’s life. Vanessa requested joint custody of the couple’s two daughters. She also asked for spousal support. In any event, a source reports that the couple recently reached a settlement out of court with help from attorneys. As one can see, the division of assets can be complex–especially in marriages with an abundance of marital property. Also, the separation process can impact the kids’ living arrangements. Fortunately, with legal assistance, Kobe and Vanessa Bryant reached an amicable agreement. If you are struggling with a complicated separation or divorce, you may also want to

Read More »

Dodgers owner’s high net-worth divorce agreement final?

Seven years ago, Frank and Jamie McCourt moved from Massachusetts to California to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers. At the time, of course, they did not know that a divorce was in their future. But it was. For months now, the couple has been struggling to hammer out the terms of their divorce settlement. On Oct. 17, they finally announced they had reached a settlement in their high net-worth divorce case. Under the agreement, Jamie McCourt will now support a media rights deal for the Dodgers which some estimate could be worth up to $3 billion. At one time, she opposed such a deal. The exact terms of the agreement have not been released, but it is estimated that she could get somewhere in the neighborhood of $130 million. A Los Angeles judge must still sign off on the divorce agreement in order for it to be binding and complete. One reason this high net-worth divorce has taken so long is because it was placed on hold so a Delaware bankruptcy court could take up the financial fate of the Dodgers. Motions on that case began October 31. Major League Baseball wants permission from the bankruptcy judge to file a reorganization plan for the team that would require McCourt to sell the team. This particular divorce illustrates how complex a divorce can become when there are high-net value assets to be considered. Couples who have real estate holdings, stock options, and other valuable marital property often are best served when

Read More »
Call Now Button
Ask a question…
close slider

Life Complicated?
We Can Help

Fill out the form below and tell us your story.