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What’s the difference between marital and separate property?

On Behalf of | Jun 7, 2022 | Divorce

When a couple decides to divorce in Massachusetts, one of the first things they need to decide is how to divide their property. This can be a difficult decision as there are many factors to consider. One of the most important factors is the difference between marital and separate property when it comes to asset division.

How is marital property divided in divorce?

Marital property is any property that was acquired during the marriage. This includes both physical property, such as a house or car, and financial assets, such as savings accounts or investments. It’s important to note that even if only one spouse’s name is on the title of the property, it may still be marital property.

When it comes to dividing marital property in a divorce in Massachusetts, the courts follow the equitable distribution model. This means that the property is not necessarily divided equally but rather in a way that is fair to both spouses. The court will consider a number of factors when making this decision, including each spouse’s income and earning potential, their contribution to the marriage, and any child custody arrangements.

For example, if one spouse has a particularly high income or assets, the court may award a greater share of the marital property to the other spouse.

How about separate property?

Separate property is any property that was acquired by one spouse before the marriage or after the marriage through inheritance or gifts. It’s important to note that even if marital property is commingled with separate property, it may still be separate property.

Generally, separate property is not subject to division in a divorce. However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the separate property has increased in value during the marriage because of the efforts of both spouses, it may be subject to division.

Dividing marital property can get complicated, so it’s important to understand the process. If you’re currently going through a divorce or are considering one, it’s particularly important to familiarize yourself with the difference between marital and separate property. Knowing how your state law applies to your situation can help you make the best decisions for yourself and your family.