An educational degree or professional license is not marital property in Massachusetts, even if it was earned during the marriage. There is no dollar amount assigned to it, which prevents a spouse from being compensated for the degree or license at divorce. However, the court does recognize disparities in earning potential and will consider it when dividing marital property.
The divorce process involves many aspects of the relationship from an emotional and financial standpoint. The most contentious issues often center on the parties' finances. Because addressing cash flow and the distribution of assets can create added stress during the divorce process, mediation is often considered as the best alternative to going to court. In this process, both parties have an opportunity to obtain complete information on the family's financial situation and make informed decisions about how to move forward. This is especially important when there is an imbalance in the relationship caused by either a disparity in income or understanding about the finances. Regardless of the reason for the financial imbalance, mediation allows for both parties to have a fair process and equal opportunity for his/her questions and concerns to be heard and addressed while coming to an agreement.
During a Massachusetts Divorce a divorcing spouse will have the ability to ask questions (through interrogatories or depositions), request documents, and ask for admissions from the other party (and third parties); this process is called the discovery process. Here are five areas that divorcing people should focus their attention on during the discovery process.
Most of the time, changes in financial behavior accompany classic non-money signs of marital trouble: lack of communication, stress, physical separation, arguments, and isolation. But it helps to be on the lookout for financial signs on their own.
Divorce can result from many things, but financial reasons are chief among the reasons. Most people have made purchases outside your agreed upon budget then lied to hide the evidence or made purchases without clarifying just how much the totals came to. Making decisions to put you and your spouse at financial risk can create trust problems that could ultimately lead to divorce down the road.
The Massachusetts Domestic Relations Rules requires that a current Financial Statement must be filed whenever the financial condition of a party is relevant or is an issue to be considered by the Court, which as you might imagine covers the overwhelming majority of cases, including divorce, separation, child custody, parenting plans, child support, alimony, and contempt. This document includes detailed information about a wide range of financial issues, including income, expenses, assets, and debts.
Whether you are just considering divorce or if you are in the early stages of a Massachusetts divorce, the good news is that you can take steps to ensure the process goes smoothly later on. One good way to do that is to create a "household inventory" or a list of all household items of value before the divorce is fully underway. Creating a household inventory might seem silly; after all, you've both lived with the items for years, or even decades, and you likely already know what everything is, right? Wrong! Though you pass by the items every day, it is quite possible if you were forced to draw up a list without being able to walk through the house you might forget many items, even the important and most valuable items. Living among the daily clutter of a house, it's unavoidable that some things fade into the background, making them easy to forget about in a divorce.