Areas of Practice

Family Law

Domestic Violence

Criminal Law

Property Division

A divorce often focuses on the division of marital assets. In Massachusetts, unless there is a pre-marital or pre-nuptial agreement, assets or property held jointly in both parties’ names, held separately in either party’s name, assets acquired prior to the marriage by either party, and inherited assets are all considered joint “marital property.” All joint marital property is considered by the Court when it divides that property.

To equitably divide assets, the Court needs to determine and identify the assets, and then determine each asset’s Fair Market Value. If spouses are unable to agree upon the value of their assets, appraisers are utilized often to determine the value of various assets such as real estate, retirement plans, and business interests. Appraisers may be utilized also to determine the value of other assets such as motor vehicles, investment properties, bank accounts, 401K retirement accounts, shares of stock, bonds, furniture, stock options, royalties, jewelry, and art.

The division of assets and property is determined generally pursuant to statute, specifically, Massachusetts General Laws c. 208, §34, which provides that marital assets are to be divided “equitably.” If the parties are unable to determine for themselves how their property is to be divided, then the court will conduct a trial and determine the value considering the following factors:

Additionally, the Court also may consider:

Thus, in the event of an Agreement or Trial, the Firm will help you determine how to present to the Court a fair and equitable division of your marital assets. Attorney Barnes will zealously represent your interests towards your spouse or to the Court.