Divorce is a challenging and emotional process that involves the division of property acquired during the marriage. Many people wonder if marital property is always split equally, with each spouse receiving a 50/50 share.
In reality, while a 50/50 split is one possible outcome, it is not a guarantee. Several factors influence the division of property in a divorce.
Understanding marital property
Divorcing spouses should understand what constitutes marital property. Marital property includes assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This can include a wide range of items, from the family home and vehicles to bank accounts, retirement savings and even personal belongings.
Massachusetts follows the principle of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital property. Being equitable does not always mean equal, though. Instead, it means that the court aims to divide property fairly, taking into consideration various factors.
Factors affecting property division
Several factors can influence the equitable distribution of property in a divorce:
- Length of the marriage
- Economic circumstances
- Custody arrangements
- Fault in the marriage
Negotiation and settlement
In many cases, divorcing couples can reach their own property division agreements through negotiation or mediation. This allows them to have more control over the outcome and tailor it to their specific circumstances.
There were 689,308 divorces in 2021, but a 50/50 split of marital property was certainly not a foregone conclusion in all of them. Divorcing spouses often need to use external resources and guidance to the fullest to reach a fair outcome.