One of the most anxiety-inducing aspects of divorce is the uncertainty of how you will maintain your lifestyle. The court’s goal is to accomplish your divorce with as little disruption to your standard of living as possible. I will assist you in reporting your financial information to the court and strategize how to provide the strongest support for your position.
In Massachusetts, virtually all types of property are includable in the marital estate and subject to division. The court also has the authority to transfer property from one spouse to another.
The court will seek an “equitable division” of property, which means fair rather than equal. There is no presumption of a 50/50 split or other simplistic formula.
Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws c. 208, sec. 34, the court considers the following factors in dividing property between you and your spouse:
- Length of the marriage. In a longer marriage, it is more likely that the spouses have functioned as an economic partnership.
- Conduct of the parties during the marriage. Specifically, how the parties’ conduct has affected the marital estate. The mere fact that one spouse has been unfaithful will be of little effect, as opposed to where the unfaithful spouse spent marital funds in doing so.
- Age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties.
- Opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income. If one spouse has been climbing the corporate ladder while the other raised the children, the court will consider that the homemaker spouse may require a higher property award.
- Present and future needs of the dependent children of the marriage.
- Amount and duration of alimony, if awarded.
- Economic and noneconomic contributions of each of the parties to the acquisition, preservation, or appreciation in value of their respective estates. This considers a breadwinner’s efforts, as well as those of a homemaker spouse, without which the breadwinner may not have been able to focus on achieving financial success.
Property division is considered final, and only in the rarest of circumstances will the court reconsider at a later time.
The discretionary standard and finality of court orders make it crucial that you choose an attorney who will make every possible argument on your behalf and ensure that any settlement you reach is truly in your best interest. To discuss how I can help you achieve the best results in your case, call (978) 704-9223 or email Lance Law LLC to schedule a free consultation.
While the court’s goal is to effect the most full and complete settlement of financial ties at the time of the divorce, alimony may be necessary due to the nature of assets and liabilities or tax consequences.
The Massachusetts Alimony Reform Act of 2011 recently went into effect, and provides specific direction to judges by defining four types of alimony along with respective qualifications, durational limits, and standards for modification.
Judges have retained discretion to order alimony that departs from the directives. Due to the lack of precedent under the new law, the judge in your case will be able render decisions on the basis of your attorney’s arguments, without being bound to the results in similar cases.
Your financial security is too vital to defend without the representation of a family law attorney who will present every factor and argument available to you.
To discuss how I can help you obtain the most advantageous initial alimony order or modification of an existing alimony order, call (978) 704-9223 or email Lance Law LLC to schedule a consultation.