What Is Marital Property?
Massachusetts law provides that marital property must be equitably distributed in all Massachusetts divorces. This means that the property from the marital estate must be divided between the spouses in a fair and reasonable way.
In general, all property acquired during the course of the marriage can be considered marital property, whether owned by one or both of the spouses.
It does not matter who acquired the property or who uses it.
Unlike many states, Massachusetts does not have rigid guidelines for the property that can be included in the property division and the property that cannot. All property owned by either spouse is up for consideration.
While you may expect to walk away from your divorce holding the property you acquired before the date of your marriage, you may not be able to do so. Under Massachusetts law, property subject to distribution can come from the joint or separate estates of either spouse. The courts have a significant amount of discretion when distributing the assets, and they must consider several factors before reaching a determination.
One of these factors is the source or origination of the particular asset.
In some cases, property acquired prior to the date of marriage may be awarded to the spouse who came into the marriage with that property. If the property acquired during the marriage is insufficient to result in a fair distribution or to provide the other spouse with adequate financial standing going forward, property held prior to the date of marriage may be awarded to the other spouse.
The division of marital property is a complex area of Massachusetts divorce law because you can end up losing property you owned prior to the marriage if you leave it up to the judge to decide. If you have concerns about protecting your property during your divorce, consider working with an experienced Massachusetts divorce mediator. Oftentimes, it isn’t in your best interest to leave your property division up to the courts to decide. To maintain control over the division of your property, consider divorce mediation as an amicable approach to what is traditionally one of the most contentious issues in divorces today. In mediation, you may be able to work out an agreement with your spouse that allows you to maintain the property you held prior to the marriage. An experienced mediator can help you and your spouse reach an agreement over your property division, saving you time, money, and peace of mind.
Are you going through a divorce and have questions about your property division? If so, Mediation Advantage Services can help. Experienced in divorce mediation, family law attorney Polly A. Tatum can help you efficiently mediate your property division while preserving your financial future. Based in historic Worcester, our firm serves all cities and towns throughout Massachusetts and Worcester County including, Auburn, Paxton, Leicester, Sutton, Grafton, Shrewsbury, Westboro, Northboro, Southboro, Holden, Sterling, Princeton, Worcester, Charlton, Millbury, Dudley, Spencer, Brookfield, Sudbury, Natick, Framingham, Hopkinton, Milford, Blackstone, Leominster, Fitchburg, Acton, Jefferson, Barre, Oakham, Cambridge, Newton, Marlboro, Lancaster, Bolton, and Hudson. Call our office at (508) 795-1557, fill out our online form, or email us at [email protected] today to schedule your Complimentary Mediation Success Planning Session. You can also sign up for our eNewsletter or download our free guide for more information regarding divorce in Massachusetts.