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Deciding how to divide debt, marital assets in a divorce

Massachusetts couples who are considering divorce may be concerned about how their debts and assets will be divided. The property division process of a divorce can be complex, particularly in cases involving unpaid taxes, bankruptcy, foreclosure, real estate, insurance, deferred compensation, family-owned businesses, annuities, stocks, bonds, pension accounts, military benefits and retirement benefits.

Conflict commonly arises when the two parties have differences of opinion regarding the value of particular assets or properties. In addition, some couples have trouble determining which assets belong to the marital estate. It is worth noting that some properties or assets may not be divided at all. For instance, some properties may be assigned a value and then left intact.

In most cases, however, the total value of the marital estate will be added up and then divided accordingly. In a case in which a retirement account and a home are at stake, for instance, if these two assets have an equivalent value, one party may take the home while the other may receive the retirement account. The properties will have been divided equitably while remaining intact.

In most instances, it is best for a couple to hire respective lawyers or negotiate together to come to a divorce agreement. If they cannot reach an agreement, a judge will make a determination using state law. This can result in an unsatisfactory divorce agreement because the judge usually cannot please both parties. A divorce lawyer may help a couple negotiate a fair divorce agreement that accounts for the needs and desires of both parties. If the lawyer submits a divorce agreement that both parties do not contest, a judge is likely to approve the settlement. For more information on how our experienced divorce lawyers may be able to help you navigate this crucial part of the divorce process, please consult our page on property and debt division.

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