How is property divided in a divorce?

In Massachusetts, judges must make an equitable division of marital assets based on the factors presented by both parties in the divorce case.  It is important to note that an equitable division may not be an equal division.  The judgement is based on what a judge deems to be fair once all assets are reviewed.

What assets are divided in a divorce?

In a divorce, any and all assets possessed by either spouse are subject to division.  These assets include tangible and intangible assets.  Examples may include:

  • Bank accounts
  • Stocks
  • Bonds
  • Inheritances
  • Business ownership interests
  • Real estate

Who gets to keep the house?

The issue of the marital home is often the most contentious subject between both parties in a divorce.  Factors such as equity, mortgage, refinancing possibilities, children, primary custodian awarded, and ability to maintain the home have a strong impact on this decision.

How do personal belongings get divided?

The division of personal property is subject to equitable division should both parties be unable to reach an agreement.

How do retirement accounts get divided?

The majority of retirement accounts require a specific court order entitled Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or QDRO.  The QDRO is a judge-signed order that directs the retirement plan institution on how to divide the account.  Division of retirement accounts is complex and intricate.  Always have a competent lawyer review each QDRO before you submit it to a judge in order to best understand how the division of accounts will impact your future.

What if I think my spouse is hiding assets?

If you suspect hidden assets, it is important to work with an attorney in order to provide substantial proof to a judge.  Extensive discovery is often required to uncover hidden assets and an attorney can advise you on how to proceed.

How much is my spouse’s business worth?

Commonly, it is difficult to assess the worth of a business especially if tangible assets aren’t involved.  One of the biggest mistakes regarding the division of assets is neglecting to research the value of a business.  A lawyer can help you extensively review financial records as well as enlist industry experts to assign the nature and value of the business.