Getting a divorce is hard, but going through its legal motions and court proceedings can leave deeper scars.
If you are going through a divorce process in Massachusetts, it is pretty easy to get overwhelmed. One of your main concerns probably is how you’ll divide the property owned by the two of you.
Here’s the thing: Massachusetts is an equitable division state and not a community property state. It means the state requires you to divide all the assets and debts in a fair and equitable manner; this may or may not mean a 50-50 split.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and not sure about your next step, it’s time to call an experienced divorce lawyer in Massachusetts. Jay Davis has been successfully resolving family law issues since 1998.
He can help you make the best decisions for you and your children. If you are looking for the right legal advice that you can rely on, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with Jay at 617-221-3548.
Separate and Joint (Marital Property)
According to Massachusetts law, all divorcing couples must divide their entire marital property – assets and debt – as part of the process. This division is supposed to be fair, but not necessarily equal.
If you’re wondering how to define marital property, the state laws specify that a judge can divide all of the couple’s property, regardless of which spouse owns it or when it was acquired. So, essentially, any property you ever bought, received (as inheritance or gift) or invested in – before and after your marriage – is fair game.
But the good news is, the court usually awards separate property to the original owner in the divorce. In essence, for example, if your family gifted you a piece of land before your marriage, there is a strong chance the judge will award you its sole ownership. Again, “usually” is the relative word here.
You should talk to a skilled attorney who knows how to navigate these murky legal waters in your favor. If you’re worried that your ex-spouse will try to pull one over on you during the property division, we are here to help. Call the office of Jay Davis at 617-221-3548 to discuss your legal options.
How does a judge divides property during divorce in MA?
If you and your ex are having trouble reaching a mutually-satisfying arrangement regarding the division of property, a judge will be forced to do it for you. Here are some factors the court will consider while dividing the property:
- Employability, vocational skills, occupation (of both you and your ex-spouse)
- Age and health
- Sources of income and how much you both earn
- Needs and liabilities
- Real estate
- Opportunity for future acquisition of income and capital assets
- Present and future needs of dependent children
- The length of the marriage
- Any spousal misconduct that led to the divorce
If the misconduct resulted in the waste of property or assets (think: gambling), the judge will take that into account as well.
If you (or your ex) have made a significant contribution to the acquisition or increase in value of the marital or separate property, that will be considered too.
But keep in mind that there is no fixed scientific formula for calculating the equitable value; everything is highly relative. Every case is different, and the ultimate division will depend on your individual circumstances.
A good rule to go by is, the shorter your marriage, the more likely a judge will try to put you back into roughly the same situation you were before your marriage.
If you’ve been married for a long time, the judge is more likely to order a sort-of equal distribution of property. This is to make sure both of you can maintain the same standard of living after your divorce.
What if I own a business?
In that case, your business and its value can be split during the property division. But, again, it depends on your specific case and it may or may not happen. Consider talking to a divorce attorney who has plenty of experience in property division cases.
Is infidelity considered during the division of property in Massachusetts?
Yes, courts in MA can consider the conduct of spouses during the marriage when dividing the assets and determining spousal support. So, say, your ex-spouse bought lavish gifts for someone they were having an affair with – when you were still married. In this case, the judge is allowed to hold those gifts (or money) against your ex in property division.
What happens to my family home?
This might be the biggest question on your mind. Let’s see what the law says.
MA laws clearly state that a judge has the right to order a spouse to vacate the house if there is a chance their presence would be harmful to the minor children or other spouse.
Other than that, there is no clear rule. Both of you may decide to sell the home and divide the money as you see fit. Or you could stay in the home in exchange for another asset. An expert divorce attorney can help you make the best decision for you and your children.
Contact Davis Law Group For a Hassle-Free Divorce and Favorable Property Division
“Who wants to visit a Divorce Attorney?? NOT ME!!! But unfortunately this is where I ended up. Not knowing what the road ahead had in store for me, Jay helped me out in all aspects of my Divorce. He helped me through what could have been one of the worst situations in my life. He was very personable and at no point did I feel haggled or taken advantage of. I would definitely recommend him or his firm for any issues you may have.”
— Randi Johnson
At Davis Law Group, we have extensive experience handling complex property division cases. Since 1998, Jay Davis and his partners have been offering legal counsel to couples and individuals throughout the Massachusetts area.
As we said, MA is an equitable division state, so things can get tricky. If you’re looking for a tenacious divorce attorney who knows the intricacies of property division during a divorce, make an appointment with Jay Davis Law Group as soon as possible. Call us now at 617-221-3548 or contact us online.
James H. (Jay) Davis III
Thank you for reading. Need to talk? 617-221-3548