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Things to consider in property division for complex divorces

When going through a divorce, one of the most contentious issues is typically the division of assets. Even amongst those who go into divorce proceedings from an amicable perspective can find themselves contentiously disagreeing with one another over property division. Questions such as who gets what property, who is entitled to what pension plans or stocks and who gets to keep the family home can all cause major disagreements. With so much on the line it makes sense to spend time checking into all the details surrounding property division, some of which may be more important than people initially think.

When going into a divorce proceeding, one of the goals for property division is to reach a mutually acceptable resolution to the issue, but different states handle this matter differently. Massachusetts is a state which determines property division based on the notion of equitable distribution. What this means is that property is divided in a way that takes certain factors during the marriage into account and uses those factors to determine what share of the property each individual is entitled to. This is different from community property states, which automatically gives half of the assets to each spouse.

In Massachusetts, issues such as how much each spouse earned, how long the marriage lasted, what the quality of life and expected standards are, as well as important issues such as how much is needed to take care of any children resulting from the marriage are all taken into account. The options are not limited by this list -- if a court feels that other factors alter to the equitability of a property division case, they can chose to consider these factors as well.

Advice regularly given to those going through a divorce with complex property division is to look at the financial side with foresight about what will be beneficial in the long-term as well as the short-term. While it may be hard for some to think too far into the future while in the middle of a divorce case, the people's future financial security may rest on their ability to do so.

Source: The Huffington Post, "Understanding How Assets Get Divided In Divorce," Jeff Landers, June 14, 2013

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