How does the court divide property?

Massachusetts judges are required to divide property “equitably.” Equitable division does not necessarily mean equal division. However, there is a presumption that all property division begin with a consideration of an equal division. There are no set formulas for division of Massachusetts property.  All assets acquired during the marriage whether by gift, inheritance or through the parties’ employment are included in the marital estate.

The courts are required to consider a number of preset factors when equitably dividing marital property.  These factors include length of marriage; the cause for the dissolution of the marriage; parties’ age, health, lifestyle, occupation, amount and source of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liability, needs of the parties, parties’ opportunity for future assets and income, contribution of the parties, needs of the children, and the contributions of the parties towards the daily needs of the family and children.  Based upon the criteria, the court may divide assets disparately and deviate from the presumption of an equal division.

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