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Spousal support, property division major divorce considerations

Being served divorce papers in Massachusetts can spark feelings of shock followed by panic. Then, one may feel overwhelmed by the idea of having to sort out issues such as spousal support and property division with a future ex-spouse. However, a couple of tips may help with navigating the divorce process in Massachusetts.

First, if both spouses are working and earn similar incomes, or if the amount in liquid assets is substantial, they may not necessarily be stressed about covering their monthly bills. However, in many situations, one spouse earns a lot less than the other one does. In fact, one of the spouses may not be earning anything if he or she decided to stay home with the children.

If the divorcing spouses are amicable, the primary or sole breadwinner is typically willing to provide the other spouse with support for a certain time period. This is known as spousal maintenance, more commonly referred to as alimony. If the two parties come to an agreement on how long this maintenance should last and what the amount should be, they can avoid further court intrusion.

In the same way, if the spouses can agree on property division in addition to the splitting of debt, they can avoid having to rely on a judge to make these major decisions for them. This is a positive in that the judge may end up making decisions that do not necessarily align with one spouse's or both spouses' wishes. The divorcing parties can work toward a mutually satisfactory settlement through processes such as informal negotiations and divorce mediation in Massachusetts.

Source:, "Financial Considerations in Divorce", Jan. 18, 2018

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