Knowing how property will be divided during divorce, and knowing what to anticipate, can help divorcing couples better plan for the property division process and prioritize their needs and concerns related to it. To begin with, divorcing couples in Massachusetts should understand that Massachusetts follows equitable division property division rules during divorce which calls for a fair division of property.
Secondly, only marital property is subject to division. Separate property is generally not subject to the property division process. In some circumstances, however, property may be commingled which can create property division complexities divorcing couples should be prepared to consider. Marital property is generally defined as property acquired during the marriage, while separate property is property one of the spouses entered the marriage with. Separate property can include gifts, inheritances, personal injury awards and some other types of property.
Examples of marital property that may be subject to division can include real estate, including the family home; household furnishings; cars; personal property; retirement accounts; IRA and 401(k) plans; pension funds; bank accounts; and the interest in a family business. Because the property division process calls for a fair division of assets, the bigger picture, including alimony, child support and child custody, may also be considered.
There are many financial considerations that must be addressed during the divorce process. Fortunately, the family law process provides important and helpful resources for divorcing couples to be familiar with that can help them address these concerns and protect their interests at the same time.