Not all property is valued or taxed in the same way; therefore, the process can be long and confusing without the help of a knowledgeable attorney at your side. It’s important to consider that even though different financial accounts may be have the same current value and/or balance, the account value for purposes of a division of assets, may vary based upon the nature of the account in question. For instance when dividing retirement assets, as opposed to more liquid assets such as bank accounts, any withdrawals made will be taxed to the transferor absent a properly prepared Qualified Domestic Relations Order being entered by the Court.
Regarding real estate property, if one spouse is granted full control of the marital home, for example, or vacation properties, then he or she is usually expected to pay the expenses on those properties during the pendency of the divorce, including but not limited to the payment of the mortgage, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance premiums, and routine maintenance
Debt is another matter you will need to be well-informed about when dividing real and other property. No matter who is awarded the property, the debt owed to the lender is still the responsibility of both parties, if the property was jointly owned. This means in the event the awarded party cannot fulfill his or her payment obligations, the bank or other entity holding the debt will expect the second named party to fulfill the payment obligations.
If you’re like most families, you have a joint cellphone account which may provide access to one another’s email and online storage accounts. Many couples forget to consider their online accounts when discussing property division. If the accounts remain attached when divorce proceedings begin, it’s crucial to take into consideration who has access to personal information. You may unwittingly be giving your spouse insight into your legal actions if they can access your email, calendar, or location.
Protect your privacy by changing passwords, and ensuring that smart devices, such as cellphones, tablets, or laptops, are never left unlocked where others might have access.
Have a pet? In Massachusetts, what happens to the family pet will be determined in the property division phase of the divorce process. Many view their pets like family; however, the state has a different view. When a couple cannot agree on who the pet should go to, a judge will make that decision.
Finally, it’s crucial to account for the potential standard of living changes when going through a divorce. Access to funds and property will likely change, causing the current living standards to be altered.
To avoid being blindsided during divorce property division proceedings, Massachusetts couples are advised to seek guidance by consulting with an attorney in their area. We can help you determine potential property division issues you may face and how to prepare for this stage of divorce.