Division of Assets in an Uncontested Divorce
When a divorce occurs in Massachusetts, many people assume that assets and debts in an uncontested divorce will automatically be split 50/50, but there is no guarantee that will happen. Some states use specific formulas that aim to divide assets and debts equally, but there is no such provision in Massachusetts. Nothing can be assumed, even in a long term marriage. In fact, Massachusetts law does not even distinguish between marital and non-marital property. To keep this separate, couples need to have a prenuptial agreement that indicates their mutual desire to make that designation.
What the Court Considers
The courts attempt to be fair, but there are a lot of variables to consider. It is up to each person to present their case and try to convince the court to divide debts and assets in the way that they feel is fair. Some of the things the judge will look at are
- Length of the marriage;
- Conduct of the parties during the marriage;
- Vocational skills;
- Estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties;
- The likelihood of obtaining assets and income in the future
- Alimony decisions
- Needs of the children
- Contribution each person made in acquiring and preserving assets obtained
- Contribution value as a homemaker to the family unit
Sticking Together on What’s Important
At times, the division of assets and debts in an uncontested divorce can be a more straightforward decision when both parties are able to present a united front. For many couples, a top concern is how to handle the family house. One option that is not recommended is for both persons to retain their own ownership share of the home. It should either be sold, and the money earned or lost can be added to the other assets and debts being divided, or it should be suggested that one person take sole ownership of the home and the responsibilities in carries.
How financial responsibilities ultimately play out can be among the most unnerving aspects of the divorce process, because there are so many elements of the decision that neither person can decide or control. This is one of the areas where a family law attorney can help. Although an attorney can’t definitively predict the ultimate decision of the court, having experience dealing with various scenarios will provide some insight as to what each person might expect so that they can take steps to prepare accordingly. Infinity Law Group offers free phone consultations to help you understand the ways in which you and your spouse can divide your financial life, as well as what options are likely to be the most fair and reasonable in light of your individual circumstances