Divorce is often hard on families, especially when Massachusetts' parents end their relationships with each other and search for ways to co-parent their kids. Although it is tough for children to watch their home lives change and their parents move on to lead separate lives, marriage dissolution can be challenging for everyone who must uproot their lives, figure out their finances, and establish themselves without their former familial identities.
Although a divorce is an opportunity for individuals to find new beginnings in their lives, they often require sacrifice and compromise on the part of both parties. Some couples choose to mediate their divorces, while others use the courts to litigate the ends of their marriages. No matter how a Massachusetts couple decides to bring about a divorce, the parties must address certain important issues, one of which is how to settle the division of their property.
No matter how hard a Massachusetts resident tries, they will inevitably accumulate stuff over the course of their life. That stuff can take on many different forms, from small possessions like articles of clothing and books, to large items like personal vehicles and furniture. Depending upon how they have chosen to invest their money, they may also own a home or other real property.
Oftentimes, among a Massachusetts couple's most valuable assets is their marital residence. Real estate remains a good and reliable investment these days, which means couples who have been together a number of years will have a lot of equity rolled up in their homes.
A previous post on this blog talked about how Massachusetts couples who own a family business together and who are going through divorce have to make some important decisions. Sometimes, couples who have never been married may face similar issues.
It is not uncommon for divorce settlement negotiations to become deadlocked over a marital residence. When both spouses wish to keep the real estate, the claws can come out with a vengeance. There are a few ways in which real estate ownership can be determined or decided by a Judge.
Often times a retirement fund is the largest pot of money at stake within a divorce. Therefore, it probably goes without saying that it is also often a great source of contention. There are rules in place that determine how a retirement account can be distributed, and to whom.
A qualified domestic relations order (QRDO) is the method through which a retirement plan is divided in the event of a divorce. It provides the terms in which a retirement plan administrator should divide and pay plan proceeds. It is a separate order from the divorce agreement itself.
It is quite easy to get caught up in the excitement and anticipation of starting a new family business when your marriage is going great, the kids are happy, you are financially secure and the two of you just bought your new dream home.
When military spouses divorce, ongoing benefits for the non-service member and children pose some concerns. In answer to those, Congress enacted the Uniformed Services Former Spouse Protection Act (USFSPA).