There are many types of assets in a Massachusetts divorce. These include separate and marital assets. As part of divorce proceedings, you will be required to list all of your assets. Understanding what each is and what may fall into these two categories can help you better understand how your assets may be impacted by a divorce.
Types of Assets in a Massachusetts Divorce
Separate property is that which technically belongs to just one spouse. It includes assets that were owned prior to the marriage, an inheritance given to one spouse, or anything an individual spouse received as personal gifts.
Marital assets covers anything attained during the course of the marriage. This includes wages, real estate, cars, businesses, lottery winnings, etc. For titled assets, it does not matter if only one spouse is listed as the legal owner. If ownership began during the marriage, then it is still a marital asset.
Division of Assets
Now that you know the difference between the type of assets, you may be wondering how this impacts your divorce. First and foremost, in an amicable divorce, both parties can agree on exactly how assets are divided. This is often the best course of action. In cases where an agreement cannot be made, then courts will consider several factors.
Although the owner of separate assets may be more likely to retain ownership of those assets, this is not guaranteed. Asset ownership is rarely clear cut when all facts are considered. For instance, let’s assume a home is owned by one spouse prior to marriage. However, once married, both spouses paid for the mortgage, expenses, and improvements to that home. That home has become a marital asset on some level. What we can learn from this example is that the type of asset is certainly an important factor but it is no the only factor for division of assets. Judges will consider a variety of factors including…
- Health (and Need for Care)
- Wage Earning Ability (Based on Work History, Education Level, Skills, etc)
- Income Sources and Amounts
- Current Debts
- Potential for Future Earnings and Asset Acquisitions
Assistance with Divorces
In Massachusetts, there is no specific formula or structure used by judges for division fo assets. This is primarily because every marriage is unique, so it depends on the circumstances. To improve your chances of preserving your separate assets and/or obtaining your fair share of marital assets, it is important to obtain legal assistance from an experienced divorce attorney. Contact us today to discuss your divorce case.