Marital Property and Divorce in Massachusetts: Understanding Your Rights

Divorce proceedings often bring the complex issue of marital property to the forefront. In Massachusetts, understanding what constitutes marital property and how it is divided can be crucial for anyone going through a divorce. This blog aims to demystify this topic, with a special focus on future inheritances and assets transferred into trust prior to divorce.

Understanding Marital Property in Massachusetts

Marital property includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. This can encompass real estate, bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts, and personal property. Massachusetts follows the principle of “equitable distribution,” which means that marital property is divided in a manner that the court deems fair, though not necessarily equal.

Future Inheritances

Definition

Future inheritances refer to wealth or assets that one expects to receive as a beneficiary of a will or trust.

Treatment in Divorce

Generally, future inheritances are not considered marital property in Massachusetts. This means they are typically not subject to division during a divorce. However, if the inheritance is received during the marriage and commingled with marital assets, it may be partially considered marital property.

Protecting Inheritances

To prevent future inheritances from becoming marital property, it’s advisable to keep them separate from joint accounts or assets.

Assets Transferred into Trust Prior to Divorce

Understanding Trusts

Trusts are legal arrangements where assets are held and managed by one party for the benefit of another. Assets transferred into a trust are often done for estate planning or asset protection purposes.

Impact on Divorce Proceedings

In Massachusetts, assets transferred into a trust prior to divorce can be a complex issue. The court will consider several factors, such as the purpose of the trust, the timing of the transfer, and the terms of the trust.

Revocable vs. Irrevocable Trusts

The nature of the trust plays a critical role. Assets in a revocable trust, where the grantor retains control, may still be considered marital property. In contrast, assets in an irrevocable trust are generally viewed as separate property unless they were transferred into the trust with the intent to hide or protect them from division in a divorce.

How Can You Protect Your Assets in Divorce?

If you’re either married or considering marriage and have concerns about safeguarding your assets in the event of a divorce, a highly effective strategy is to have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place. Such agreements are powerful tools for delineating which assets should be treated as separate property, not subject to division in a divorce, and which should be considered marital property. These agreements can further detail how marital property might be divided, whether equally, equitably, or in another manner.

For those already married, a postnuptial agreement is a route to take, while those planning to marry should look into a prenuptial agreement. A critical aspect of these agreements’ validity and enforceability is the involvement of independent legal counsel for each party during the negotiation process. Therefore, engaging experienced legal professionals to draft and negotiate your agreement is crucial. Investing in such measures to protect your assets in the event of a divorce is a wise decision.

Contact Logan & Logan LLP For Divorce Lawyers On The South Shore, MA

The division of marital property, including considerations for future inheritances and assets in trust, is a nuanced aspect of divorce law in Massachusetts. It’s important to understand these complexities to protect your interests effectively. Consulting with a knowledgeable family law attorney, like Logan & Logan LLP, can provide you with personalized advice and ensure your rights are safeguarded during the divorce process. Our dedicated team is here to help you secure the protection you need and deserve. Call us at (617) 209-3723 or fill out our contact form to get started today!

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