In Massachusetts, the Probate Court divides marital assets based on the standard called “equitable division.”
Unlike community property states that apply an automatic division based on the length of marriage, in Massachusetts, under General Laws Chapter 208, Section 34, the Probate and Family Court must consider several factors in deciding how to fairly divide a marital estate.
These factors include: the length of the marriage, the conduct of the parties during the marriage, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities and needs of each of the parties, the opportunity of each for future acquisition of capital assets and income, and the amount and duration of alimony, if any. In fixing the nature and value of the property to be so assigned, the court shall also consider the present and future needs of the dependent children of the marriage.
The court may also consider the contribution of each of the parties in the acquisition, preservation or appreciation in value of their respective estates and the contribution of each of the parties as a homemaker to the family unit.
Although in practice there may be a presumption of equal division for a marriage of long duration, there may be complex factors that might override that presumption. Division of assets can be complicated by premarital assets, inherited assets, business valuation, partnerships, stock, other monetary vehicles, and other types of property. Nussbaum Family Law LLC can advise you as to valuation and the equitable division of these and other assets.