Even in the most amicable Massachusetts divorce, property division can be an emotional and stressful process. Ultimately, this can lead to property division disputes. Both men and women unfamiliar with the divorce process often have mistaken beliefs when it comes to property division. A MetroWest Boston Divorce Lawyer will inform and assist couples throughout the process, so that in many cases people leave a divorce in much better condition than expected.
Many people don't realize they are entitled to a share of certain assets of their spouse. This is true for items such as retirements accounts, 401(k)s through one's employer or government-backed pension plans. A spouse may tell the other that they are not entitled to part of these assets because it is related to their job and is completely separate. The same is true for things such as stock options that either the spouse or the company has yet to exercise. Furthermore, a spouse may also tell the other that they are not entitled to a division of property regarding a car, boat or house that is solely in one person's name.
In most cases, it is simply not true that these types of property are not subject to division in the course of divorce. This is based on what Massachusetts state law considers separate property and marital property. In reality, separate property is relatively limited. Separate property includes things such as property owned by one prior to the marriage, or property inherited before or after marriage (as long as it has not been comingled with martial assets).
With the number of misnomers over separate and marital property, those going through a divorce often find it extremely valuable to seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. Property division has both short and long-term consequences for both parties to a divorce. It can affect one's financial well-being for years to come.
Source: Forbes, "Divorcing women: the truth about your husband's 401(k) and other assets," Jeff Landers, Aug. 8, 2013