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Massachusetts Marital Property Laws

The term "marital property" refers to all possessions and interests acquired by a couple during their marriage. Marital property becomes very important during divorce proceedings when spouses must divide the property and debt they own. A few states recognize the concept of community property, in which most everything is jointly owned and equally split between the parties. Massachusetts, however, is not one of those states.

Massachusetts law requires the division of property in a divorce to be equitable. That means it must be fair though not necessarily equal. Couples who don’t manage to resolve property issues on their own will end up going to court to ask for a decision from an arbitrator or a judge.

Learn more about Massachusetts marital property laws in the article below. For additional resources and information about marital property, see FindLaw's Divorce and Property section and the links following this article.

Is Community Property Recognized?

No. When dividing martial property a court may consider each spouse’s separate property. Separate property is property owned by a spouse prior to marriage or acquired during marriage through a gift or inheritance. Sometimes it can be difficult to identify separate property, particularly if it is combined with marital property in an account or used to buy or improve marital property.

 

How is the Value of Property Determined?

If spouses cannot agree on the value of certain property, they may need assistance from a financial professional such as an appraiser or a certified public accountant.

Spouses usually divide property by giving specific items to each spouse or by selling assets and apportioning the proceeds. If spouses are unable to reach an agreement with court involvement, a judge will divide the property and debts in a way that is fair under the circumstances.  

What Factors does a Court Consider When Dividing Property?

Some factors a court may consider include the following:

  • Age and health of each spouse;
  • Job or future employability of each spouse;
  • Needs and obligations of each spouse;
  • Sources of income;
  • Length of the marriage; and
  • Spousal misconduct or other behavior by the spouses during the marriage.

 

Research the Law:

Related Resources for Marital Property Laws:

If you are considering filing for divorce and want to know your rights as they relate to your marital property, you may consider speaking with an experienced Massachusetts family law attorney.

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