SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts. According to the Wall Street Journal, the definition of marital property varies from state to state. In Massachusetts, courts generally won’t distinguish between separate property and marital property, but there are certainly ways that individuals can protect inheritances and their financial health during divorce. Generally, separate property refers to any assets a person acquired before a marriage, including an inheritance. Marital property refers to property acquired during the marriage. In many states, separate property is not subject to division in the same way marital property is.
A recent Nation article evaluated a situation where an independently wealthy mother stood to gain significant amounts in spousal and child support from her partner. In a case like this, does the spouse have to pay support to an independently wealthy parent? The situation is complex. If one partner in a marriage has been out of the workforce to raise a child, she may lack the skills and connections needed to make money. The partner who remained in the workforce may have benefitted from the child care and other domestic services performed by this parent. At the end of the day, a person with work skills and a stable job may be better off financially than a person who has a modest family inheritance.
One of the difficulties involved in cases where one couple is independently wealthy involves what the person is required to disclose. The laws for disclosure of independent wealth may vary from state to state. While couples must disclose marital property, individuals may not be required to disclose trusts or other independent assets. For instance, if individuals have documentation to show that an inheritance was only intended to go to one partner, this may protect that independent wealth. A prenup may also do the same. Another way partners can protect their inheritance is by keeping money in separate accounts.
At the end of the day, the resolution to complex financial questions in divorce may often involve weeks or months of negotiations with the help of a divorce lawyer. If you are facing complex financial questions in your divorce, you may want to contact Dinsmore Stark: Attorneys at Law in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Finally, couples who are going through a divorce should also consider the effect that a long protracted financial battle can have on the children. Taking a claim to court might make you a winner, but the strain of a court fight can impact children for years. Generally, it is wise to find a resolution to your divorce disagreements outside of court, with the assistance of a family lawyer. Dinsmore Stark: Attorneys at Law are family lawyers in Springfield, Massachusetts who work closely with families to help them find the best possible resolution to their financial and child custody questions. There are risks in taking a divorce dispute to court. A judge may make decisions regarding your finances and your children that neither partner wants. Protect your rights. Contact Dinsmore Stark: Attorneys at Law today.