How are the automobiles, money accounts, insurance policies, retirement accounts, home and all the rest divvied up?
When it comes to family Law and divorce, Massachusetts is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that property division, including debts, be fair. This does not mean that the split is 50/50 but rather that a judge or arbitrator divides the assets and debts according to what he deems fair and equitable.
The state recognizes marital property, which is property and debts acquired during the marriage, and separate property, which is property and debts acquired by either spouse before entering the marriage. While some states divide only marital property upon divorce, Massachusetts law lets a judge divide all of the property, marital or separate, any way that he thinks is fair. Essentially, everything is on the table. The only exception is Social Security benefits. They cannot be split between the parties.
A judge may consider numerous factors when determining which spouse gets what. The marriage length, how each spouse behaved during the marriage, the health, age and occupation of each spouse, the amounts of income each spouse has and each spouse’s employment options are some of these factors. A judge may also consider what each spouse contributed to the marriage in terms of money, child care and so forth. In short, the judge in a divorce case has a lot of leeway in deciding how to divide property. Once he makes his determination, it is final. Neither party can file for a modification.
If you are considering divorce, then contact an experienced divorce attorney. He will guide through the process and protect your legal rights.