Division of Marital Assets and Debts in Massachusetts

How Is Property Divided During a Divorce?

During a marriage, spouses acquire assets — and debts — as a unit. If that couple later divorces, the property must be fairly divided between the two spouses. This is a standard part of the divorce process, often referred to as asset division.

At Harsip & Stuart, P.C., located in Acton, Massachusetts, we have extensive experience handling both simple and complex asset division. Our attorneys have dealt with the division of sophisticated financial portfolios, and we have helped couples agree to sell the family house and fairly divide the proceeds.

We have extensive understanding of the tax consequences of asset division during divorce. We often employ the help of experts, including appraisers, actuaries and forensic accountants to resolve complicated property valuation issues.

Basic Information About Property Division Under Massachusetts Law

Massachusetts is an "equitable distribution" state. This means that marital property and debt will be divided fairly, though not necessarily split 50/50 between the spouses. The definition of "fair" in relation to property division is different in every divorce, and there is a lot of room for negotiation. An attorney with advanced skills at the negotiating table can help make sure the property division agreement is truly fair and acceptable.

Before the division of marital property and debt can be negotiated, the first step is to assess the extent of the marital estate. Generally, in a short term marriage, spouses will keep any individual assets or real estate they acquired before the marriage. All assets and debts acquired during the marriage will be considered marital property to be divided equitably between the spouses. Retirement accounts and pensions will also be divided between the spouses, even when those accounts are in only one spouse's name.

Take Steps to Ensure a Secure Financial Future After a Divorce

The process of negotiating a fair property settlement statement is a crucial step in the divorce process, especially for families who have complicated asset structures or multiple real estate holdings. The earlier you begin to organize financial information and create a concrete plan for dividing assets and debts, the better off you will be when the dust settles and the divorce decree is signed.

Contact Harsip & Stuart for a Free Initial Consultation

We encourage you to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with one of the divorce lawyers at Harsip & Stuart. To make an appointment, call 978-264-0250 or contact us online via our email form.

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