Massachusetts Property Division Factors
In Massachusetts, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Family Court within the Judgment of Divorce.
Massachusetts is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Family Court will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Family Court to be fair.
The courts shall consider the following: a. length of the marriage; b. the conduct of the parties during the marriage; c. the age; d. health; e. station; f. occupation; g. amount and sources of income; h. vocational skills; i. employability; j. estate; k. liabilities and needs of each of the parties; l. the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. (Massachusetts General Laws - Chapter 208 - Sections: 1A and 34)
Since Massachusetts is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about Massachusetts property division in the Massachusetts state statutes located at: http://www.mass.gov/portal/.
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