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What are the guidelines for property division in Massachusetts?

Dissolving a marriage is rarely an easy or quick process to complete. There are a lot of things to consider -- often more than most think of right off the bat. While working through it all, it is common to have numerous questions that need answering before any final decisions can be made. This is particularly true when discussing property division.

Every state has specific guidelines for how property is to be divided in a divorce settlement. In Massachusetts, a contested versus uncontested divorce may have completely different outcomes. Uncontested divorces can be completed fairly quickly and between the couple. Any agreements reached, though, will need to be submitted for court approval in order to ensure the final settlement is fair.

Massachusetts is an equitable division state in regard to property division. This does not necessarily mean everything will be divided down the middle; rather, that the property given to each party is considered equal in value. This is the guideline that will be used by a judge in a contested divorce. Couples can make requests for certain property, but, in the end, the final decision is up to the court.

Figuring out property division -- which typically includes any shared real estate, belongings and monetary assets and/or debts -- can be difficult. Each spouse should be able to walk away from the marriage with a settlement that is balanced and fair. Whether a divorce is contested or uncontested, legal assistance is available to ensure that the final outcome of a property settlement serves the best interests of both parties.

Source: mass.gov, "How Will Our Money and Things Get Divided?", Accessed on April 21, 2015

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